Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Local Therapy Group Aims to Help Those With Aphasia

Most people know what it's like to try to grasp for the right word but draw a blank.

For people with brain injury from stroke or other causes, it can happen all the time with almost every word. It's a communication disorder called Aphasia.

Special group therapy may help people with Aphasia to relearn ways to communicate, either through words, writing or gestures.

Among the members of a therapy group at WakeMed is a former N.C. State public speaking professor, a former truck driver and a beloved mother, Elizabeth Cox.

She described her story in halting speech, "I had a stroke, and thanks be to God, I survived."

Cox's stroke lead to Aphasia.

"If you have Aphasia, it's like having a file cabinet that has all of your information and your knowledge stored and it gets tipped upside down," said Maura Silverman, an Aphasia therapy specialist.

With Aphasia, the words are scrambled, but the intellect is intact, according to Silverman. That's what Cox's daughter, Julie Stickler, said she knew all along.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

WakeMed and Triangle Aphasia Project Join Forces

RALEIGH, N.C. - WakeMed Health & Hospitals and the Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP) have joined forces to provide lifelong therapeutic support to patients through the Triangle Aphasia Project at WakeMed Rehab.

An estimated one million people in the United States have acquired aphasia - a communication disorder usually the result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor or progressive neurological condition. This frustrating disorder may reduce a person's ability to understand written or spoken information and always affects their ability to find the words they want to say. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are so vital to our connections in the community and impairments like aphasia can be devastating to a person's self-confidence and willingness to participate in activities they enjoy.

For many years, the Triangle Aphasia Project operated as a community-based program to meet the needs of those with aphasia, offering a comprehensive range of support programs throughout Central North Carolina. As the number of individuals impacted by aphasia has grown, so has the need for additional services, financial support and resources.
"By welcoming the Triangle Aphasia Project into the WakeMed family, we are able to provide life-long therapeutic support well after insurance coverage is exhausted for patients and their families coping with Aphasia," commented Elaine Rohlik, executive director of the WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital, the largest most comprehensive in-patient rehab hospital in the area. "We also are pleased to extend the continuum of care for our speech/language and brain injury patients."

The Triangle Aphasia Project at WakeMed Rehab is one of the few specialized aphasia programs in the country offering treatment groups, personalized home programs, family education and training and support. Collaborating with family and caregivers, the Triangle Aphasia Project at WakeMed Rehab works to remove barriers to information, recreation and vocational pursuits for the individual with aphasia.