Outside of her Alisar work, my human Ann has recently started volunteering for a local befriending service supporting people who have had a stroke.
When I first heard she was taking part in the project I couldn’t understand why someone who’d had a stroke needed help, as strokes always make me feel good.
But then Ann explained to me that a stroke is a very serious medical problem that can leave you with a condition called aphasia – difficulty with speech.
Once a week she helps someone with aphasia improve their communications skills by just giving them the space to have a conversation.
There surely isn’t anyone who would not want to help in this situation, but in the hurly-burly of everyday life not everyone has the time to wait while someone struggles to find the right word.
It’s a great opportunity for Ann as she’ll be able to transfer the skills and experience she’s developed working for Alisar, with teams and senior managers, to a totally different environment, but with (I’m sure), the same levels of success.
She found out about the project through her local council who offer this service in support of the NHS programme.
Ann attended a couple of days training to ensure she was aware of the most appropriate tools to help someone and was given guidance on the best “props” to use, for example, maps, newspapers, drawing mind maps etc.
As a stroke can lead to many different levels of impairment some props are more helpful than others, and establishing a rapport and empathy to work out the most appropriate way forward is essential.
I wonder if Ann will take me along to some of her one-to-one sessions? With all these ‘woof posts’ and social media posts I’ve been writing my communication skills have got so much better, I’m sure I could help out too. It’s so important that we all understand each other, don’t you think? I hate it when I find out I’ve been barking up the wrong tree…
Find out how I got on in one of my forthcoming ‘woof posts’!