Meredith, Dorothy, and Antonella

Aphasia Threads: Meredith, Dorothy, and Antonella

Welcome to the Aphasia Threads Project, which weaves together three points-of-view: people with aphasia, caregivers, and the professionals who help each family navigate aphasia. Each week, we bring together three unrelated stories, one from each member of this triad, to learn from their experience. This week, we’ll hear from Meredith, a person with aphasia after a TBI in 1995. Then, we’ll hear from Dorothy, who is a caregiver for her mother who had a stroke. Finally, we’ll hear from Antonella, a speech-language pathologist.

Aphasia Threads

Person with Aphasia

I survived a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a near-fatal car accident on June 20, 1995. Aphasia is one of the effects of my TBI.

meredith

Aphasia Changes Your Life

I am constantly writing down what I need to say or do. College was especially challenging for me. It took so much extra time (and energy) when I had to prepare for and give presentations, write a paper, participate in group activities, and just the whole “social“ aspect of college.

But There Are Things That Help

The compensatory strategies that I learned 25 years ago in speech therapy, have helped me navigate through life with a brain injury. Nowadays, I play Boggle and Words with Friends (crossword puzzles) every day to exercise my brain!

And Things You Learn Along the Way

To be patient with yourself and slow down! Remember to give yourself credit for the small achievements too! And Practice, Practice, Practice!

What Caregivers and Professionals Can Learn From Me

I believe it makes a world of difference when people with aphasia have caregivers and professionals/therapists that are our biggest cheerleaders and advocates!

It is crucial for people with aphasia to be given access to an SLP to teach us new skills and techniques that will motivate and assist us in having a fulfilling quality of life.

Aphasia Threads

Caregiver

Mother had a stroke.

Aphasia Changes Your Life

Ongoing therapy.

But There Are Things That Help

Constant Therapy, speech therapy at the local university clinic.

And Things You Learn Along the Way

Never give up.

What People with Aphasia and Professionals Can Learn From Me

My mother is now approaching five years with aphasia. I am in the process of writing a book about the first three years of our experiences with aphasia and the work we have done to help improve her life. I am looking for a few readers for the draft who are caregivers and/or therapists to someone with severe expressive aphasia.

Aphasia Threads

Professional

I became interested during my clinical fellowship in an inpatient rehabilitation unit. I encountered an Italian-speaking patient with aphasia and apraxia. I was so passionate about helping him communicate with his wife. From that moment, I knew it was my calling.

antonella

What I’ve Noticed Along the Way

It can be heartbreaking seeing how frustrating and time consuming it can be for patients to express something that they probably considered to be so simple before their aphasia, such as what they want for dinner. The greatest joy is seeing the relief and their pure joy at getting their message out.

There Are Things That Help

Talk Path News is great for helping patients learn of current events. It is functional and adaptable to patients’ needs.

And I Encourage New Professionals to Learn About Aphasia

It will be so rewarding working with not only the patient but their family and friends. Communication is the best gift we can share.

What People with Aphasia and Caregivers Can Learn From Me

We see how diligent and resilient the person with aphasia is. We laugh and cry with you. We also see the support the person with aphasia is receiving, and that’s a critical component of recovery. We want to not only improve your communication with your loved ones but your confidence to keep trying!

Aphasia Threads

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Aphasia Threads is an on-going project created by the National Aphasia Association. If you’d like to be featured, don’t leave a comment. Instead, please read the opening post for more information or fill out our form and we’ll contact you.

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