Montessori Principles to Overcome Communication Difficulties

Montessori principles to overcome communication

difficulties between you and the person with

cognitive impairment.


Do you have difficulty understanding and making yourself understood when conversing with someone with dementia? It’s very helpful to use Montessori principles to overcome communication difficulties. 

  • Sometimes, when a person with dementia has communication problems, observation can tell you more than a direct conversation with them in their environment.
  • What are people doing or trying to do?
  • How exactly do people do it?
  • How do people describe what is happening? (Word choices, adequate nonverbal communication, metaphors, etc.)
  • How do people understand what is going on?
  • What assumptions are made on your part and the person affected?
  • What do I see happening (his reactions, his body expressions)?


How Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect communication:

  • Repeated use of common words
  • Difficulty calling an object or person by name.
  • Easy loss of the train of thought
  • Difficulty organizing words in a sentence.
  • Problems with abstract concepts (an example, budgeting, planning your day)
  • Difficulty expressing emotions, feelings


Effective communication strategies to better understand and adapt:

  • Limit distractions for both of you like turn off the TV, radio, get away from background noise.
  • Use short accurate sentences.
  • Limit yourself to one topic at a time.
  • Put yourself at her level, in front of her, look at her when you talk to her.

  1. Use closed questions (especially when dementia is more advanced) like: Did you have a good day? and not What have you done today? Do not put the person you are speaking with in a situation of failure.
  2. Use gestures, touch, movement, sounds.
  3. Speak directly to the person.
  4. Be patient and invite the person to take their time.
  5. Use humor.
  6. Use nonverbal communication (depending on the stage of the disease).
  7. In case of confused communication, do not correct the person, use the diversion.
  8. Use your first or last name to address the person, for example: Hello mom, it’s Marc, your son! and not: Hello, it’s me!
  9. Defuse difficult situations (reactive behaviors) by smiling, breathing deeply, taking the person’s hand, leaving the room.

Promote meaningful activities of daily living that generate greater

autonomy, a better relationship and develop preserved abilities.

Interested in discovering other effective strategies to enrich your relationship and communication?

Take a look at our Individual-Intensive-12-hour – Certified-Training and our conferences.