Stroke Survivor

A stroke survivor dedicated to helping people with disabilities live full lives.

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 Paul Named Virginia Advocate of the Year
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 Fairfax Caregiver

Electronic & Digital Tools for
Aphasia And Speech Disabilities


Kindle Wireless Reading Device

One of my friends who travels and likes to read convinced me to try a digital book reading system. I selected's Kindle because it has a build-in text-to-speech function. Reading and hearing the words aloud at the same time significantly improves my understanding of the paragraph. You can highlight a word and check the definition.

Best of all, it solves the one-handed problem of holding a book open and trying to turn the page, especially when reading on a sofa or in bed--you click a button with one finger. It is small, and its battery lasts a long time. It's not cheap, but you can save over time because the e-books are less expensive than the print version.

Large Selection: Over 400,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. Order online

Electronic Dictionary

Electronic Dictionalry - for stroke survivorsFranklin Speaking Language Master - LM- 6000B

PAUL: I have a Franklin Language Master Electronic Dictionary and Thesaurus that is more than 15 years old.  I use this sturdy, compact dictionary to understand words in the newspaper, book, or work instructions.  I type in the word and search on definitions, synonyms, and the thesauru, by punching one button.  If I don't understand the words in the definition, I can look up each one until I understand the full meaning.  Also, when I'm writing, and trying to remember a word, I type in the letters I know, and the word-finder will give me a list of choices.  If I'm not sure which is right, I can check each word's meaning by punching the definition or synonym key.  I use the memory function to recall words I recently reviewed.  This is my number one tool to help overcome my aphasia.  (My number two tool is a pocket notebook and pen.)  I also have a Speaking Language Master, and a pocket-size speller.  The model listed below is similar to my favorite.

Speaking Language Master(tm), Publisher Merriam-Webster(r) and Franklin Electronic Publishers. Model: LM6000B Order online

Digital Mini-Recorder

Olympus VN-4100PC Digital Voice RecorderI found a digital mini-recorder that was very easy to use with one hand, could hold over 140 hours of recording, clear buttons for recording & play-back, and linked easily to my computer to store important recordings. The best part was its size--it was so small  that I had to put a string on it so I wouldn't lose it!

People with aphasia, like me, can find many uses for a small, easy-to-use recorder: recording instructions from your doctor or supervisor, or conversations with your family. You can use it to practice speech therapy exercises. Or as a communication device to play specific messages recorded by your communication helper.

The model I use is the economical Olympus VN-4100PC Digital Voice Recorder available from office and computer supply stores or online from, Order online It retails for a lot less than most digital equipment.

Overcoming Speech Problems from Apraxia

lipsync-phonics-gameStrokes can cause many problems with communicating. I have apraxia -- trouble making my mouth form sounds. When I started speech therapy, I wasn't making much progress in talking until my therapist tried a different approach.

The key to my success was re-learning how to make the sound of each letter in the alphabet with a technique used to
teach hearing impaired children to talk. We worked with a
set of cards picturing the mouth, teeth, and tongue that showed how to form the sounds.

Today, cards are available with special effects that show the mouth moving when you tilt the card. I think these are better than the cards I used. Educational Insights publishes a set called "LipSync." Recently, I found them available online and
various stores at for around $40. Use the company name in your search. Order online

naa_handbookHandbook for Aphasia

The National Aphasia Association's "Handbook for Aphasia" provides helpful information about aphasia, how to manage with aphasia, how therapy can help, and useful resources. It was adapted from a popular British resource guide, and is written and illustrated to be easier for a person with aphasia to read and use. Order online

worhq.size02Writing Software

My aphasia affects my talking and writing. Since each person has different problems, different skills, and different needs, I tried different writing software programs that were demonstrated at the aphasia center I attend.

I liked "WordQ"--a software tool used along with standard writing software. WordQ suggests words for you to use and provides spoken feedback to help you find mistakes.WordQ 2 helps with confusing words, and all-in-all is easy to use. Order online

Logitech QuickCam Connect.sizeComputer Camera

My aphasia makes phone conversations difficult. I use a lot of gestures to help communicate when I can't get the words out. Now I can talk face-to-face over the computer using Skype and a webcam. My aphasia sessions with Bill Connors are very effective using the webcam. And it is nice to see Stephanie's face when she's away. This is a nice gift for family and close friends.

You can do this on a budget--good webcams that transmit picture and sound are available for less than $30 from office supply stores, electronics stores or To see one similar to the webcam I use: Order online

 DVD Explains Aphasia

Its Still Me”size.j11,"It’s Still Me!" is a 17-minute DVD intended as a guide for people with aphasia and their loved ones in order to help them learn how to communicate with each other more effectively. The DVD explains what aphasia is, how it feels, and demonstrates some methods to communicate when you can't use words.

I first saw it at the International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference in June, 2010 and bought a copy to show my family and friends

The DVD is only $15 and is distributed by the National Aphasia Association. To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Speech Coach

vast.sizeThe Speak-in-Motion VAST is like carrying a speech coach in your pocket. A few weeks ago, I saw a demonstration of VAST by one of my classmates from the Stroke Comeback Center who gave an inspiring, fluent speech during an award ceremony.

VAST is an innovative application of video technology on a hand-held device like an I-pod to facilitate and improve communication abilities for speech-impaired individuals. Individuals follow close-up video of mouth movements--a simultaneous combination of visual, auditory and in some cases written cues--allowing them to speak full sentences. VAST facilitates:
* live communication
* individualized, mobile speech practice
* independent communications

To learn more, Order online

Special Feature in in Adobe PDFs

Did you know that the ubiquitous Adobe Reader has a special feature to read the text aloud right inside the PDF document?  This is a big help to people with aphasia, to hear the words as you read the document.

To read aloud, follow these steps:

(1) When you open a PDF File or Document, along the top of the screen, you'll see "View."  Click on "View,"then scroll down till you see: "Read Out Loud" (at the bottom of the list)

(2) Click on "Activate Read out loud"

(3) Click on "View" again, then "Read out loud," then
* "Read this page only" or
* "Read to End of Docutment"

New Text-to-Speech Reader

The screen reader I've used for many years, Readplease, is no longer available. I have found the same features in a new software product, Natural Reader. The free version allows you to cut & paste text from emails, Word documents, and other documents into the Natural Reader screen, then click to hear the selection aloud. You can adjust the speed. You can also cut & paste sentences you write yourself to hear if they sound right.

Hearing and seeing text is very helpful for people with aphasia, like me, and other reading & writing problems.

For details & your own copy, Order online .

Home Phone

Home-Phone-Uniden.sizeAlthough some people have decided to give up their land  line phone service and only use their cell phones, we continue to use both. Our old home phone finally "died," so we replaced it with an affordable new Uniden phone system that includes a base unit with cord & speakerphone & other features, plus 2 cordless phones with charging units that we position around the house.

I have one on my desk in my home office, and one in a convenient place in the dining room that's just a few steps from the kitchen, dinner table, or living room.  Plus, the system is expandable, if we decide we'd like another remote unit.

To see a Uniden system like mine, order online .

Click here for other helpful everyday products.Click here for my recommended Aphasia Rehabilitation & Reference Books
Click here for my favorite Internet resources and links

Click here for a list of my books and tapes

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 Amazon Kindle
 How to Conquer the World With One Hand...And an Attitude
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E-Books: Solutions to Download:
Conquering Aphasia & Stroke TODAY! Click for details

Conquering Aphasia & Stroke for Caregivers Click for details

More Conquering Aphasia & Stroke Click for details

You are marvels!  I just read the newsletter ... and it is simply priceless (I always read them, and they are all noteworthy, but this one is beyond good.)  Paul, your book is in my book as something that all clinicians should have, read, pass on (ie, make them buy) to their clients.
 -Audrey Holland, Professor Emerita,University of Arizona

I came across your website today and just wanted to congratulate you on providing a helpful resource for stroke survivors and healthcare professionals.
     -Marisca Baldwin, The Pat Arato Aphasia Centre, Toronto,,Canada

 Everyone wants! on 8 CDs
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Reading problems?
You can hear text with FREE
text reader software described on
 our, Access page