Shereida, Anna, and Linda

Aphasia Threads: Shereida, Anna, and Linda

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 Shereida, a person with aphasia after surgery for AVM removal. Then, we’ll hear from Anna, who is a caregiver for her mother who had a stroke. Finally, we’ll hear from Linda, an SLP in New York.

Aphasia Threads

Person with Aphasia

I have been dealing with aphasia since I was 25 years old. I had my 3rd surgery for AVM removal in the brain. During recovery, I noticed that I felt different but didn’t understand what was going on with me.

Aphasia Changes Your Life

I have had issues with reading and comprehension. It was extremely hard for me before I was diagnosed. I remember feeling as if I couldn’t think anymore. I have a great family that was very supportive and encouraged me to get better and to feel better.

But There Are Things That Help

I was able to receive therapy at RUSK Institute in NY. While there, I met others that were dealing with aphasia. I participated in group therapy and individual sessions with a therapist. Also, I was able to learn new skills to assist me with my communication.

And Things You Learn Along the Way

Accept all assistance offered to you and participate in as much therapy as possible. Also, link up with support groups.

What Caregivers and Professionals Can Learn From Me

That it can happen to anyone and to be patient with those that are dealing with aphasia because there is so much inside of them that they want to share.

I was able to return to school while dealing with aphasia and am now a licensed mental health provider. I look at myself as an example as to why never to give up.

Aphasia Threads

Caregiver

My mom had a stroke four years ago. She lives with me currently.

Aphasia Changes Your Life

It has impacted my life in a very terrible way. Our communication has deteriorated. The roles have reversed, and now I have to care for her.

But There Are Things That Help

She attends speech therapy. Through speech therapy, we are learning how to communicate better.

And Things You Learn Along the Way

I would honestly say to start speech therapy ASAP because that is the way that you will learn what things you can do and how you will understand what is going on in their mind.

What People with Aphasia and Professionals Can Learn From Me

Honestly, if anyone is going to be a caregiver, they have to know what they are getting into. It takes a lot of passion and inner strength, and it consumes a lot of your time. I only can work four hours/day. I can’t hold a full-time job because of taking care of her. You can’t do it alone; you have to find resources. It is important not to forget yourself.

Aphasia Threads

Professional

Linda works as a speech therapist in New York.

I work at New York University’s Langone Medical Center Rusk Institute.

What I’ve Noticed Along the Way

I find that empathic and supportive listening are primary techniques, and I feel gratified when the person with aphasia finds communication eased.

There Are Things That Help

The Life Participation Approach has helped me support many chronic patients, and I endorse the philosophy and practice.

And I Encourage New Professionals to Learn About Aphasia

Plenty of exposure to all individuals throughout the lifespan, both those with aphasia and those without.

What People with Aphasia and Caregivers Can Learn From Me

An SLP follows a training paradigm and relates therapy to known research to expedite success and provide sound care.

The individuals who are not in a community group or who have no aftercare supports are at greatest risk of social isolation. It is important to reach out to individuals with aphasia who may have little or no family/friend support.

Aphasia Threads

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