Self - Advocacy for Invisible Disabilities
Editor's Note - Sharon Rennhack:  
If you find this newsletter helps you and  it gives  you important information and treatment and practice ideas, please be sure to share with others on Facebook and in other social media communities. 
Our topic for this month's edition is self-advocacy for invisible disabilities.

An  invisible
 disability  is a  physical, mental  or neurological condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities.  That condition may include  symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as speech, hearing and vision impairments. 

These  disabilities are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations, and vary from person to person.

In this edition,  we meet  individuals with  autism, aphasia and  blindness.  The difference, though, is that these individuals do not see  their disabilities  -  they see only what they CAN do!  As Susan Robinson says in her TED interview,  "Everyone is disabled in some way."

In this edition,  we  meet:

DJ Savarese
Christine Huggins and David Dow
Susan Robinson

What ever your condition is, DON"T  let it limit you;  if you have aphasia, contact aphasiatoolbox for a free consultation.     
When you have questions about aphasia,  the answer is aphasiatoolbox®.  We ARE aphasia recovery. 

For information on how we can expedite your recovery using the most effective and affordable tools,  contact us at ; OR click here to  schedule a FREE consultation  and select a 30 minute phone call with our  aphasia recovery expert. 

Documentary -  "Deej" 
In this month's edition,  we meet an incredible young man:

The subject in the documentary "Deej" - DJ Savarese, ("Deej") - is a 2017 graduate of Oberlin College with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing. He is a gifted, young writer and advocate for nonspeaking autistics. 

His poems and prose have appeared in The Iowa Review, Seneca Review, Prospect, Disability Studies Quarterly, StoneCanoe,, Voices for Diversity and Social Justice: A Literary Education Anthology, and A Doorknob for the Eye (chapbook). Currently a 2017 Open Society Foundations Youth Exchange/Human Rights Initiative Fellow, he works to make literacy-based education, communication, and inclusive lives a reality for all nonspeaking people.

He was a profoundly disabled foster kid on a fast track to nowhere. Says Deej:

"I won the lottery when my parents adopted me from foster care; I won it again when they included me in regular education. Now, I seek to help kids much less fortunate than I by showing people what a nonspeaking student with autism can do."

DJ insists on standing up for his peers: people who are dismissed as incompetent because they have neurological differences.  His story reminds us of the clients at aphasiatoolbox® who forged ahead, made a difference and began communicating again.

Link to Website:

Christine Huggins and David Dow

Here - in this section, we highlight  Christine Huggins and David Dow, co-founders of the Aphasia Recovery Connection. 

The Aphasia Recovery Connection was started in 2012 by two young stroke survivors.  They knew that there were no Aphasia Centers near them and that thousands of others faced the isolation that they did. 

Christine Huggins and David Dow, assisted by their moms, Kim Huggins and Carol Dow-Richards set out to make a difference by helping others with aphasia and their caregivers AND offer  a means to connect and help each other. 

The goal of the Aphasia Recovery Connection  is to " Help to End the Isolation".

Read about the ARC  Team:

Support  ARC:      The Aphasia Recovery Connection is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3).
Video:  Susan Robinson      
In her  TED Talk, Susan Robinson discusses her dislike for  the  term " disabled"  -  and what she does about it.
Video Link:
Susan Robinson, TED Residency - How I fail at being disabled

"Born with a genetic visual impairment that has no correction or cure, Susan Robinson is legally blind (or partially sighted, as she prefers it) and entitled to a label she hates: "disabled." In this funny and personal talk, she digs at our hidden biases by explaining five ways she flips expectations of disability upside down. "

  Aphasia Entrepreneur of the Month
In this month's edition, we start a  new monthly  section called Aphasia Entrepreneurs.

Tom Broussard
In this edition,  we  meet Dr. Tom Broussard.  

Tom Broussard is a stroke survivor, author and public speaker. Until his stroke in 2011,  Tom  w as the Associate Dean of Admissions & Career Services at The  Heller School.  

Following his stroke, Tom could not read, write or speak well.  It took years for him to to get better. 

To help his recovery, Tom wrote his first book - Stroke Diary, A Primer for Aphasia Therapy . He now has a total of three books in the Stroke Diary trilogy:  

Links to Books:
Stroke Diary is available on Amazon and Kindle.

This is  Tom's website:


 News: Stroke/Aphasia
A concept known as self-efficacy improves quality of life and offers hope for people with neurologic disorders. We tell you how it works.  2018

An international research consortium studying 520,000 individuals from around the world has identified 22 new genetic risk factors for stroke, thus tripling the number of gene regions known to affect stroke risk. The results demonstrate shared genetic influences with multiple related vascular conditions, especially blood pressure, but also coronary artery disease, venous thromboembolism and others. Linking these results with extensive biological databases provides novel clues on stroke mechanisms and illustrates the potential of genetics to identify drug targets for stroke therapy.  2018

3.   Study: Fish Oil Supplements May Not Combat Stroke
Claims that fish oil supplements help prevent death from heart disease, heart attacks and stroke may be unfounded, British research suggests. Millions of people take fish oil supplements, hoping to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. And the American Heart Association recommends omega-3 fatty acids supplements for people with a history of heart disease. 2018

4.  Women Who are Most at Risk for Stroke
Stroke affects more women than men in the United States. And a new study pinpoints stroke risk factors unique to females.   2018

5. Poetry Bash by Those with Trouble Speaking
It's been said that people with aphasia "speak in poetry", because each hard-earned word carries a world of meaning. A local nonprofit is celebrating poetry that is created, performed, and inspired by people with aphasia. 2018

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