Article by Jordan Lewis, originally appearing in The Conversation
In honor of yesterday’s Game of Thrones premier I couldn’t just skip over this article! I had never thought about Hodor having expressive aphasia before, but it makes since. I think if I had to have a severe medical condition, this would be the one that would drive me bonkers the fastest– not being able to tell others your most basic wants and needs. I mean, you try having hemiparesis (1 severely weak arm and leg, which is another typical stroke presentation, which is where I see expressive aphasia the most) and try to act out wanting to eat ice cream… or to go to the bathroom… or that you’re cold. I would 1) probably fall over in my attempts and 2) get SO frustrated. A lot of people’s first reaction is, “Well, let them write out what they want.” It’s not that simple. Being able to produce language period is usually effected, so they can’t write either.
I’m not speech therapist, but in my interactions with these folk that are only expressive aphasic, not globally aphasic (meaning they DO understand what you’re saying) the key is to 1) let them try to speak and give them the time to do so. You may be surprised what can come out! Instruct them to concentrate on the 1 most important word of the thought they are trying to convey and get that word out. 2) Give simple yes/no or other 2 option questions when possible. 3) Consider making a communication system between yourself and this person. The speech therapist who is working with the person probably has a good idea here. 4) Don’t pretend to understand what they said. That’s just rude. Play 20 questions until you find the right answer! 5) Don’t speak extra loud. They hear you just fine.
So… HODOR! 🙂