!e Embedded Question for the Stimulation
of the Single Words “Yes” and “No”
!e first objective a clinician should have when beginning speech therapy with
those who have lost the ability to speak, or with those who are not speaking,
is to determine the PCD’s ability to understand and use either nonverbal or
verbal forms of the words “yes” and “no.” Many speech-language pathologists
have difficulty with this concept because people with speaking difficulties may
confuse “yes” and “no” when they listen to others or while they are speaking.
However, I do not think “yes” and “no” have to be difficult for the speech
clinician or caregiver, provided that they are observant.
36 | the teaching of TALKING
Calibration in the Use of “Yes” and “No”
As a speech-language pathologist, I have never been all that concerned about
the use of “yes” and “no.” I know that for some PCDs, the concept is easy
to learn with stimulation, which we will soon review. For others, it may be
difficult. I never spend time on a behavior that doesn’t get me the “best bang for
the buck.” I want to begin with speech behaviors that can be readily improved
upon and return to the ones that are not amenable to stimulation at a later time
in the clinical process.
When I studied behavioral therapy in the 1980s, gurus like Richard Bandler
and John Grinder were developing a new way of helping people change behavior.
Inspired by them, I decided to learn whatever I could to help those who were
resistant to change. !eir therapy was called “Neuro-Linguistic Programming,”12
and from it I learned many distinctions about behavioral change and what
was necessary in order to help people do what they seemingly could not do by
themselves. In particular, I learned how to read the communications of others by
listening to voice and tonality, watching specific mannerisms of the body, and
listening for the words people used.