The Aphasia Group at NYU Steinhardt School
By Clifford Groen
December 27th, 2013
My General Background
I had a stroke on April 9, 2012. My stroke was caused by my atrial fibrillation previously undiagnosed. I was in a hospital for one month. Due to my stroke, I have aphasia, which affected my talking ability. When I was released from the hospital, I could not talk at all.
After seven months of speech lessons at Rusk, I could talk again. I started those lessons on June 14, 2012. Those lessons were three times each week. Later, those declined to two times each week. I ended those lessons on January 17, 2013. I did so because my speech teacher said I was ready to talk again with others.
At the suggestion of my speech teacher at Rusk, I joined an aphasia group. Rusk did not have any openings in their aphasia groups at that time. For that reason, I joined an aphasia group at the NYU Speech-Language-Hearing Disorders Clinic at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at 665 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. I did that on February 13, 2013.
The aphasia group at the Steinhardt Clinic consists of 8 or 10 people who had strokes and have aphasia. They are all very nice. They welcomed me to their group. This group meets once a week.
One member of this group had his stroke 17 years ago. Four of the members of the Steinhardt group, including me, also go to an aphasia group at Rusk. I learned about this after some time had passed.
The aphasia group is led by a Master clinician. She is assisted by two graduate students from New York University. Those students do this as a part of their studies of speech, language and pathology. They do this for one term. They change every term.
The focus is on talking. The students prompt discussions by asking general questions for the group. The role of the clinician is to guide discussion in a general way. Everyone has her or his say at every session. There was no structure for these sessions until recently.
On September 18, 2013, a new clinician took over for this group. She joined the Steinhardt School from outside. After receiving input from the group members, we decided to form three teams of three people for side discussions. We started doing this on October 30, 2013. After side discussions, we returned to the whole group for a general discussion.
Each small group decided on a project to present the whole group. On November 20, 2013, each small group presented its own project to the whole group and some Steinhardt staff and some wives and husbands. That presentation was well received.
In my small group, we prepared a presentation on art. One member of our group is an artist. She did some paintings when she was in Italy twenty years ago. She showed three of her paintings.
I did a presentation of Korean and Japanese art. I took four photos of some our Korean and Japanese paintings in our apartment. The Korean paintings consisted of a Korean tiger, which is well known in Korean folk art, and a Korean calligraphy by a famous artist in Korea in the shape of a dragon. The Japanese paintings consisted of a painting of iris flowers by K. Sugiwara painted in 1991 and a painting of an abacus painted in 1982.
The third member of our group is a computer expert. He presented three slides about digital art. One slide told the story of Pixar Animation Studio. The next slide told the story about Toy Store. The last slide told the story of Matrix.
Our group did a power point presentation. One student helped us to do this.
One group also did a presentation about art. One member of that group is an artist. He showed a painting done by him. The subject was the head of a woman who is quite famous. The other member of that wrote up a description about the painting. There was a power point slide.
The third group did a presentation about classic music. They played some music from Aida, an opera. They also showed a video about this opera.
Next Steps at Steinhardt
The program is in flux at the Steinhardt Clinic. Probably, we will do more projects. There was enthusiasm in our group for doing this.