Beauty Link - Volume 5, Issue 4 - (Page 57)

Aphasia: What Every Beauty Professional Should Know BY STEPHEN SYMBOLIK I magine trying to work without being able to speak or use words. You desperately want to communicate…but you can’t! It would be almost impossible to succeed as a beauty professional. Now imagine that you’re a client who cannot speak. You simply can’t convey your needs to your stylist because he or she doesn’t understand your condition and hasn’t received training on the basic skills necessary to communicate with you. Approximately one in every 250 people in the United States battles to communicate every day and the number is growing. These individuals have a communication disorder called aphasia. The National Aphasia Association (NAA), a non-profit organization assisting aphasia survivors and caregivers with support and awareness, can help individuals understand this disorder. The association offers simple, free, aphasia-friendly business training to help individuals recognize aphasia and to communicate with persons with aphasia—called aphasics. While this training helps aphasics, it also helps businesses capture clientele that might otherwise go unnoticed. What Is Aphasia? Aphasia is a condition that impairs the ability to speak, process language and sometimes, understand others. Most commonly caused by stroke, aphasia can also result from tumors, neurological conditions and brain injuries. Many individuals returning from combat have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) and have aphasia. Aphasia does not affect a person’s intelligence. The human brain is very complex. Aphasia damages the brain’s language processing center, but not the part that houses thoughts, emotions and creativity. There is no damage to identity or intelligence with aphasia, but those afflicted lose their ability to communicate thoughts. Aphasia does not discriminate. Aphasia can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, nationality or gender. There is a misconception that aphasia only affects older people. Increasingly, younger people are being affected and rising levels of obesity, attendant heart disease and diabetes are likely to cause more strokes. How Do You Communicate with an Aphasic? Many people initially misunderstand aphasics, believing them mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Such assumptions Learn More should be set aside. Aphasia sia uld symptoms should obe on your professional radar. r. When working g with an aphasic, here are e some tips: 1. 2. he Secure the person’s attention before you speak. This is not always easy in a busy salon. Minimize background noise (TV, radio, other people). Keep your voice at a normal level and give the aphasic time to speak. Often, people speak more loudly and slowly to an aphasic, as if that increases understanding. It doesn’t! Keep conversation simple, but adult. You can also use drawings, photos, color swatches, etc. Confirm communication with yes and no questions. Often, an aphasic mixes up yes and no. First, ask a question with a known answer. Example: a client’s name is Susan. Ask: Is your name Susan? If she responds yes, you know that she knows yes means yes and no means no. If she responds no, then no means yes and yes means no. Aphasics know that they have a communication disorder. Susan is aware that she is, in fact, Susan. An aphasic may not respond verbally but will nod their head or give a thumbs up or down. Communicating is easier if you master a few skills. Aphasics welcome attempts to communicate with and understand them. These skills can help you connect more effectively with all clients—enhancing customer loyalty and obvious economic benefits! The NAA has provided training to The Hair Design School, New York, and to Tiffin Academy of Hair, Tiffin, Ohio. To get started including aphasia-awareness training in your business, and for aphasia-friendly business materials, call the NAA toll-free at 800922-4622, visit our website at, or email me directly at 3. Stephen N. Symbolik is a writer, editor and photographer in New York City. He also is the Training Program Coordinator for the NAA and is the President of SymbolikSolutions, a consulting firm for cosmetology schools.  The courses CM251 – Students with Disabilities: Legal Obligations and Opportunities and CO101 – Using Effective Communication Methods (Free Tutorial) are available on the AACS Online Training Center at Members call AACS at 800-831-1086 for your VIP Discount Code. Visit the following URLs to learn more about these courses: are B E AUT YL I NK | C A N Y O U H E A R M E N O W? | 2 0 1 3 | 57

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Beauty Link - Volume 5, Issue 4

message from the aacs president and cea co-chairs
the workings of washington
Rejuvenate Your Passion for Business
The AACS Affi nity Program
Mobilizing Your Business Is a Thing of Beauty
Open Door Leaders
and then there’s compliance
Motivating Your Students
Use Your Resources
step by step
Taking Out the Mystery
beauty changes lives
Beauty School Insurance
a student’s perspective
skin care council
aacs listserve q & a
Beyond 2014
voices from the classroom
Work Smart
superstar graduates
Celebrate the Power of Being an Educator
people & places
new products & services
associate member profiles: salons
new school members
upcoming 2013-14 events
In Memory
index to advertisers

Beauty Link - Volume 5, Issue 4