Friday, October 26, 2007

Aphasia victims find a voice in UA group

April R. Ford

Stroke and disease can sometimes cripple a person's ability to use and understand basic language. But a UA communication group offers a way for people with aphasia, a severe communication disorder, to re-establish who they are on their own terms.

"Aphasia is a language disorder, meaning it affects our ability to understand or use our words, vocabulary, grammar and all the pieces that go into framing a message," said Barbara Shadden, a professor at the College of Education and Health Professions.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimated that about a million people across the U.S. are affected by aphasia, which results from damage to the language parts of the brain.

Every person has their own sense of who they are, Shadden said, but the problem for victims of aphasia is that the idea of a self depends on how you use language.

For people who have suffered stroke or other disease, aphasia can hinder their ability to tell the world who they are, Shadden said.

"We all believe in our sense of self," Shadden said, "but the problem is it depends on others, and communication is the key."

A communication group was created at the UA's Speech and Hearing Clinic in 2004 to provide therapy to individuals having trouble telling their story because of aphasia. The group's focus centers on recreating the individual's sense of self through the development and communication of a life story, Shadden said.

Telling that story on their own terms is a crucial part of the communication group, said Patricia Koski, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice.

"People recreate a self," Koski said. "Although, if they don't have the tools to recreate that self, they are in danger of losing it in the sense that somebody else decides for them who they are or what they are capable of."

Members of the UA communication group use tools such as beliefs, gestures or words to share their life story with others.

A9.4: Participation Memo

Ashley Carr

October 19, 2007

Aims and Objectives:

This week, I set out to expand my knowledge of information within my research by continuing the research process, but by looking at it from a different perspective. This week it was important for me to go one step deeper into my research to seek information that I previously did not know. I also aimed for completing these assignments before Friday evening. This...Next....


11:00 - 02 October 2007

A Reading group has been set up for people who have suffered a stroke or brain damage.

Members of Aphasia Nottingham have started sessions to share ideas about books, and help each other to understand them.

Aphasia is a condition which affects communication skills.

The group has the choice of audio or large-print versions of books from a library.

The next meeting is on Monday, October 15, at 2pm in Beeston Library

Books such as Chickenfeed by Minette Walters and The Builders by Maive Binchy are on the reading list.

Telephone Frances Cameron on 0115 937 4937 for more information.

Horses visit Meadow Ridge residents


Horse ‘Honey’ with Maura Curry from HORSE of CT SENIORS meets Betty Poggenburg, who is about to turn 99. —Scott Mullin photo
Meadow Ridge residents were entertained last Wednesday by horses that traveled to Redding from their farm in New Preston.

“This is the second year we’ve had horses visit from HORSE of CT SENIORS,” said Joy Hodge, recreation director for assisted living at Meadow Ridge. “They’ve been really wonderful in coming. It’s an all-volunteer group. They interact with our residents. They bring carrots and special cookies for the residents to feed the horses.” The group brought a senior horse and a senior pony.

“These are retired horses and it makes sense that they should be with retired people,” said Kevin Curry, who volunteers with the group along with his brother Patrick and their sister Maura, who is program director. “The horses are also seniors. Coming here to visit senior humans is a nice program.”

“I think this is the most wonderful afternoon,” Peggy Smith, a Meadow Ridge resident, said. “It’s such a fun time because we’re getting to see the horses. And my little granddaughter is coming today. I hope they get here in time to see the horses.”

When spoken to, Charlotte Kelly could not respond because she has a condition called aphasia. “We converse without language,” her assistant said. “She is wonderful. She really is. She loves the horses.” Ms. Kelly was extremely communicative with her smile and her beautiful face.

Another resident, Edith Sutter, said she’s been at Meadow Ridge only two months. “This is a little unusual. I didn’t expect anything like this,” she said. “I think it’s great. A good human touch to it. I did some feeding and a lot of petting.”

Mary Swallen, who also fed and petted a horse, said, “It’s been nice. I had fun.”

“They’re wonderful,” said Stanley Andrysek. “It’s nice to see the horses.”

HORSE (Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines) of CT SENIORS (Society of Equines Nurturing Individuals of Retirement Status), according to Ms. Curry, is an organization that rescues horses.Next.....