Best Practices for Mental Health Professionals Working with Persons with Aphasia

Supplemental Resources

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Welcome to this webpage including supplemental resources that we hope will be helpful following your completion of our two-day training session: “Best Practices for Mental Health Professionals Working with Persons with Aphasia”. The intent of our training was to provide an initial foundation in both the communication strategies, and counseling approaches and adaptations that will support your engagement with people with aphasia. We thank you for your interest, commitment and very important work.

This page offers a selection of resources to support or build on the topics introduced during the training. It is not an exhaustive list of available resources. The links included below are current as of March 2023.  We would like to thank Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, M.A., CCC-SLP, for cultivating an earlier version of this list. Other than our own work, we do not specifically endorse any of the organizations, facilities, programs, products, or services listed. We of course defer to your professional judgment regarding the use of all content and materials shared.

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While you are welcome to view this page, it is intended to supplement the content shared during our live training. If you found your way to this page without completing our training, we request that you provide your contact information so that we may track usage, alert you to page updates and additions, and share information about future training opportunities.

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Additional Resources

These resources are in no way intended to be comprehensive and we hope to expand offerings with your help as this community grows.  If you create or are aware of a resource that you feel would benefit the community, please share it with so that we may review it with the training team.  We cannot guarantee that all submissions will be posted, but we do guarantee they will be appreciated. By submitting your material, you grant permission for us to utilize your material and distribute it to others, with appropriate attribution and our thanks.


Should you have any questions or suggestions regarding how to make this page more valuable we encourage you to let us know:

Foundational Videos

Mental health professionals have varied knowledge and exposure to stroke and aphasia.  The following videos were created to establish a common foundation prior to the live training:

An Introduction to Aphasia Basics: Karen Castka, SLP and Sharon Glaser, SLP (30 minutes)
An Introduction to Psychosocial Effects of Stroke and Aphasia: Dr. Blaise Morrison (45 minutes)


Rebuilding Identity in Recovery: Dr. Debra Meyerson and Steven Zuckerman (40 minutes)

This video shares Debra Meyerson’s stroke experience, along with the carepartner perspective of her husband, Steven Zuckerman. Recorded by them in 2022, it includes an introduction to the concept of identity and tells the story of the decision to write the book Identity Theft (see below) and co-found the nonprofit Stroke Onward, both important aspects of Debra’s journey to rebuild identity and a life of meaning.

Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke by Dr. Debra Meyerson with Danny Zuckerman

This book shares Debra Meyerson’s stroke recovery journey (along with other survivor stories) and explores the process of rebuilding identity after a trauma like stroke.  It is an accessible, insightful, and hopeful look at the impact of stroke and aphasia on Identity.   The book is available in both print and audio formats. Book discussion guides for multiple audiences are available via the Stroke Onward website.

Stroke Onward – American Stroke Association Column

Debra Meyerson and Steve Zuckerman share their first-hand experience, insights, and expertise as a stroke survivor and carepartner in this periodic column. Article topics include Living with Conflicting Emotions; Adaptation, Compromise, and Identity; Small Wins Add Up — and more.

Additional Identity Articles/Podcasts


Aphasia Simulations

This is a series of simulations developed by Jackie Hinckley and Keen Research. They are intended to provide a different perspective on and greater understanding of the issues encountered by a person with a language disorder.

National Aphasia Association (NAA)

The NAA is a non-profit dedicated to providing information and resources to individuals with aphasia and their families. The NAA’s YouTube Channel includes a variety of informational videos.

Patience, Listening, and Communicating with Aphasia Patients

Video of survivors with aphasia from the RVA Aphasia Group discussing aphasia and communication tips.

Communication Supports

Aphasia Institute Resources For Health Care Professionals

This webpage is a launching point to various resources available from the Aphasia Institute including:

  • Introduction to Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA™) eLearning Module – A free course that provides an overview of aphasia and communication techniques healthcare providers can use to improve access to healthcare for survivors with aphasia
  • ParticiPics – A searchable database of images that can be used to support conversations
  • Downloadable Communication Supports – Several downloadable “ready-made” supports available, including a Yes/No card to support conversations and a resource pamphlet for families
  • Aphasia Institute Store – Published resources to support conversations that are available for purchase

Communication Access Videos – Fundamental Techniques

A series of short videos offered by Aphasia Access that provides practical suggestions to support communication access for people with aphasia. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for relevant video topics that include: adjusting your talking, using gestures and body language, and using writing/graphics.

Communication Posters from the National Aphasia Association

Printable flyers from the National Aphasia Association with communication suggestions.

Supported Communication Checklist

Communication techniques healthcare providers can use to improve access to healthcare for survivors with aphasia, shared by the Adler Aphasia Center.

Counseling Resources/Tools

Dealing with Depression – Aphasia-Friendly Resource

A resource developed by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Stroke & Aphasia Recovery (STAR) Program to facilitate an initial conversation around depression.

Dealing with Anxiety – Aphasia-Friendly Resource

A resource developed by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Stroke & Aphasia Recovery (STAR) Program to facilitate an initial conversation around anxiety.

Values Visuals

These visually accessible cards were created to help facilitate discussion around an individual’s values and aspects of identity. They were designed and generously shared by Fiona O’Neill (MSc, GDip Psych (MBI), HCPCreg SLT), an accessibility advisor based in the UK and Ireland, trained in both Clinical Language Sciences and Mindfulness-Based Interventions.

PBAT Comprehension Adapted

These visual supports can be used as “talking points” to facilitate discussion of relevant feelings and experiences meaningful to each person and help assess how these change over time. They were designed and generously shared by Fiona O’Neill (MSc, GDip Psych (MBI), HCPCreg SLT) an accessibility advisor based in the UK and Ireland, trained in both Clinical Language Sciences and Mindfulness-Based Interventions.

Life Interest Value (LIV) Cards

A set of cards to facilitate conversations and decision-making surrounding valued life activities. Categories include: Home & Community, Creative & Relaxing, Physical & Social. Information on mood and adaptations to facilitate participation are also included. The LIV Cards were developed by Katarina Haley, PhD, CCC-SLP; Jennifer Womack, MA, MS, OTR/L; Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, ScD, CCC-SLP; Denise Caignon MS, CCC-SLP; and Karen McCulloch PhD, PT; and illustrated by Stuart Helm.

Additional Counseling Articles/Podcasts

Assessment Tools

The Family Aphasia Measurement of Life Impact (FAMLI)

This tool measures third-party functioning and disability for family members of persons with aphasia. It is intended to support the identification of needs and measure outcomes of family-centered care. Additional information on the FAMLI is available here.

The Depression Intensity Scale Circles (DISCs)
A six-point visual scale of depression. The link is to an open-access article and the scale can be downloaded from the article.
D-VAMS 3.2.0 Dynamic Visual Analogue Mood Scales

Offered by the University of Nottingham and Paul Barrows, the D-VAMS is a brief, nonverbal mood assessment instrument suitable for use with stroke patients with communication difficulties due to aphasia. It consists of a set of scales that allows mood to be reported by modifying facial expression images using a slider. For each of the scales, the user adjusts the facial expression to one that best reflects their own mood.  A user guide is available via the website.

Aphasic Depression Rating Scale 

The Aphasic Depression Rating Scale (ADRS) was developed to detect and measure depression in patients with aphasia during the subacute stage of stroke.

Additional Assessment Resources


Difficult conversations: How Can We Break the Silence on Mood and Sexuality/Intimacy

Video presentation by Emma Power & Brooke Ryan presented at Aphasia Access Teach-In, June 2020

La Trobe University SOX manual: Interdisciplinary Approach to Management of Post-stroke Sexuality

Based on an interdisciplinary approach, this guide provides a springboard to consider how multiple disciplines can provide clients with information and support addressing sexuality after stroke.

Aphasia Access Episode #109: Learning from Family and Systemic Psychotherapy with Kate Meredith

In this podcast provided courtesy of Aphasia Access, Lyssa Rome, from the Aphasia Center of California, interviews Kate Meredith, a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist, working for the UK National Health Service and in independent practice in South Wales. Meredith is completing a Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice, and also worked for 15 years as a Speech and Language Therapist, working with adults with acquired communication difficulties. Kate’s dual training enables her to support families and individuals with the impact of these changes on family and social relationships.

Additional Relationships/Sexuality/Intimacy Resources

Resources for Survivors, Carepartners, & Families

The following aphasia-friendly videos are provided courtesy of Aphasia Access:

Resource List

This is a selection of resources related to topics introduced during the “Best Practices in Mental Health Professionals Working with Persons with Aphasia” training that may be useful to share directly with survivors, carepartners, or families.