Inform, Inspire & Empower  

Editor: Sharon Rennhack
In last month's edition of Aphasia Toolbox, we talked about "finding your  voice".  In  the current and upcoming editions,  we offer three inter-related special editions covering these topics:   INFORM - INSPIRE - EMPOWER - targeted to people with aphasia, caregivers and therapists. These special editions will discuss  ways to do that, including self-advocacy.  Part 1 is  an introduction to the 3-part special edition and focuses on - INFORM. 

Inform, Inspire and Empower -  these are powerful words.  

Visual Thesaurus tells us that:

INFORM means "to give or impart knowledge of a fact or circumstance";
means "to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.) OR to inspire confidence in others";
EMPOWER means "to give power or authority to or authorize".

What do these three little words mean for a person with aphasia or a person recovering from aphasia and his/her caregiver or family?

INFORM offers the PWA/PRA and family much needed information on aphasia treatment and recovery;
INSPIRE offers them hope; this is so important since  the amount of time for recovery is different for  each person with aphasia.;
EMPOWER means that  authority ultimately comes from the person with aphasia - not the therapist or caregiver.

An ATB client, Laura Cobb,  volunteers at her local hospital, where she recently saw this board discussing stroke and aphasia.  That gave her the strength and  ability to find her voice to say - "Me, too!"

These three words - Inform, Inspire and Empower, are also the genesis of the Aphasia Recovery Connection -  an aphasia awareness and advocacy group created by  people with aphasia.  The co-founders are Christine Huggins and David Dow; Christine had her stroke with aphasia at the age of 25.  David had his stroke with aphasia at the young age of 10.

They - with their mothers, have created a group that helps people to be able to express themselves and say - like our client Laura ,  "me, too".

So  - in preparation for National Aphasia Awareness Month in June,  ATB is starting the conversation - "Aphasia: What's that?";   and, we will provide information and personal stories to "inform, inspire and empower" - for ALL the Lauras, Christines and Davids - with aphasia.

For information on how we can help your aphasia recovery, contact us at .

Click here for information on the Aphasia Recovery Connection:

Facebook page:

Click below to receive a no-cost, no-obligation online consultation: 

Aphasiatoolbox®: Where Real Aphasia Recovery Happens Everyday. 
Aphasia Resources
Part 1: INFORM  -  What you need to know
1. What is Aphasia?
Presentation to the Aphasia Recovery Connection, Ohio Retreat - July 2015 Dropbox link

Aphasia Fact Sheet - National Aphasia Association

Facts about Aphasia - Adler Aphasia Center

Aphasia - Medline

2.   What do I need to know following my initial discharge?
Social and Emotional Support: Keys to Recovery  , Stroke Connection
A stroke affects more than brain cells - it impacts every area of the survivor's life, as well as the lives of the survivor's loved ones.

Information for Caregivers  and free articles
- Stroke Survivor - Website  from Paul Berger and Stephanie Mensh

Wallet Aphasia Identification Card - The Aphasia Center

Let's talk about Stroke and Aphasia , American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

3. What do I  need to know when I'm  in  treatment or in recovery?

The idea of a patient plateau in aphasia recovery is a myth.   If someone tells you that you personally have reached a plateau, he/she is misinformed.   Perhaps your rehabilitation program has plateaued for you, however, we at aphasiatoolbox® have plenty of evidence and tools to help you to continue to improve:

>  You need smart aphasia treatment that truly exploits your brain's neuroplasticity by challenging but not frustrating you.
>  You need to address those cognitive and skills skills and fluent word recall that are essential for conversation.
> You need to become the pilot of your own recovery, working from your own memory and practicing on your own.
> Finally, you need an intensive program that offers hours of treatment, practice and interactions.

To talk with an aphasiatoolbox staff member who recovered from her aphasia,  Contact us.

4. How does  aphasia caused by a stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury  differ from Primary Progressive Aphasia?

What is Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)? - Northwestern University - Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center

For information on how Aphasiatoolbox helps people with PPA, contact us at
Bill Connors discusses: 
Aphasia Treatment and Recovery
 In his  video,  Bill  discusses not only how to find critical information, but also how to simplify your search and then best take advantage for you as an individual.

Time:   02:56

Aphasia News and Events

1. PIRATE Aphasia Education and Advocacy Summit, June 25, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA
The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, along with the Program for Intensive Residential Aphasia Treatment and Education (PIRATE), will be hosting the PIRATE Aphasia Education and Advocacy Summit this summer for persons with aphasia along with their caregivers and family members. Interested professionals are also welcome to attend.  The conference will be held at the Pittsburgh VA on Saturday, June 25th, 2016 as a part of the Aphasia Awareness Month celebrations. To learn more about this event please visit the website:

Oklahoma State University at Tulsa will host  the"Cowboy Aphasia Camp," a week-long treatment experience for people with aphasia from May 31-June 3 .   To learn more about the camp, contact coordinator Karen Copeland at 

Bob Woodruff received the best care and attention after a traumatic brain injury (TBI)-and made a remarkable recovery. Today, his foundation tries to ensure the same outcome for other TBI survivors.

4. Finding her voice
Carlota Schoolman, age 68, says aphasia opened up a world for her. 
Note:  Carlotta is the leader of the International Aphasia Movement, co-founded by  
Harvey N. Alter and Michael A. Young, Esq. 2001. IAM assists people with speech and learning problems  due to the disability of aphasia caused by a brain injury. Groups are held in  several
locations in New York City, For information, contact Carlotta at
(917) 532-7936;

5.  Right brain may help predict recovery of language after stroke
New research suggests that looking at structures in the right side of the brain may help predict who will better recover from language problems after a stroke, according to a study published in Neurology®.

6.  USF Speech-Language Hearing Clinic, Tampa, FL
The University of South Florida (USF) Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic (Tampa, FL) is offering FREE speech and language groups for adults. Summer clinic runs from May 23 until early July.
Contact Cheryl Paul for information.  Phone:  813-974-8176
To discuss how this information applies to your personal aphasia experience and recovery,  Contact an aphasia expert .

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