"Finding Their Voice" - Finding Hope and Healing

Editor's Note:  This month's edition talks about "finding your voice" following stroke or brain injury.  By Sharon Rennhack

Before my stroke in October 2010,  I  worked a full time  and demanding  job and  still had time to sing with my local choral society.  That group's repertoire included opera, classical music  and some light pop music. 

My stroke  silenced the part of the brain that allowed me to respond to music,  primarily because  of the time it took for me restore my speech, cognition and writing.   I worked with Bill Connors and the staff at aphasiatoolbox.com for over a year and a half to get all of that back.  

I  just saw a recent NBC newscast on the aphasia singing group - The Aphasia Tones, located at CSU East Bay  (CA).  (Finding Their Voice: Aphasia Patients At CSU East Bay Form Singing Group)
The Aphasia Tones is a singing group conceived in 2009 by Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, Director of the
in Hayward.

The Aphasia Tones
This group - with all different ages and races,  comes together to vanquish the silence created by aphasia or apraxia.  And, this group has influenced me to  join a college  choral group - 6 years after my stroke.

In this same edition, there's an article about the  recovery of country singer Randy Travis, who had a major stroke in 2013 ( See : Randy Travis: What's Behind His Miraculous Recovery ).  Says Dr. Schneck (who is familar with this case), "Randy Travis' recovery exemplifies the discoveries we have made over the years in terms of the brain's plasticity.  A lot of therapy is designed to train the parts of the brain that is still intact to take over the function of the part that has been damaged."  Dr. Schneck concludes:  "Not everyone will have a full recovery - you still have to take life as it comes - but the bottom line of Randy Travis' story is that you should never give up hope ."
And, hope is  what we have and can use to steer our recovery.  If we have trouble talking or cannot talk or c onverse,  we can all sing and make beautiful music together - like Randy and the Aphasia Tones. 
Do you want to "find your voice"  to converse, talk,  argue about politics or sing?     Schedule an appointment  to discuss your recovery.  We can chat with you in the comfort of your home using a video conference or by phone.
Aphasiatoolbox®: Where Real Aphasia Recovery Happens Everyday.    
Caregivers Poll

According to a 2013  Pew Research Center report, an estimated 39% of adults in the United States serve as caregivers for an adult or child with significant health concerns.  This report adds:  "Caring for a loved one is an activity that cuts a cross most demographic groups,  but is especially prevalent among adults ages 30 to 64, a group traditionally still in the workforce."

For an upcoming feature article in the aphasiatoolbox newsletter (Consumer Edition),  we are planning a short survey on caregivers, for those people  who help or assist people with aphasia and other related communication problems such as apraxia and alexia  - (caused by a stroke and/or TBI ) or Primary Progressive Aphasia - a neurological condition.    We will use the results of the information you provide to:   improve our online coach/caregivers group;  create additional online conversational/support groups; create additional online treatment groups; share information/concerns with other aphasia and PPA caregiver groups.  All information is confidential.

We know that your time is valuable; for every completed caregiver survey, we will offer a free membership to the aphasiatoolbox.com website.   

Help us help others by participating in this poll;   CLICK HERE
Primary Progressive Aphasia
SLP Genevieve Richardson Genevieve Richardson, an aphasiatoolbox staff member and SLP,  has been working with people with PPA, a neurological condition that slowly robs  a person's ability to speak.  Genevieve and the ATB staff not only offer 1 on 1 treatment sessions but also have created an online community that offers support, sharing of ideas and practice.    
To learn how Genevieve helps people with PPA, schedule a complimentary consultation.

"Aphasiatoolbox, where the recovering mind meets compassion, excellence and opportunity." 
Bill Connors discusses:  Finding your voice

 In this  video,  Bill  discusses "finding your voice" following aphasia and stroke.

Time: 03:01

 Aphasia  Sight Reader - The Lexical-Semantic Meltdown Activity

In this video, Bill Connor discusses a mindful and neuroplastic activity - the Lexical-Semantic Meltdown Activity, which is part of the Aphasia Sight Reader.

  Time:  04:54 

To learn how you can exploit exercises like these to aggressively improve your speech,  schedule an appointment with an aphasiatoolbox® expert.  

Aphasia News

When country music legend Randy Travis suffered a massive stroke, there was little hope he would survive. But now, less than three years later, he is not only recovering, but is singing in public for the first time.

A mysterious brain disorder can be confused with early Alzheimer's disease although it isn't robbing patients of their memories but of the words to talk about them. Note:  Aphasiatoolbox offers the only online, comprehensive therapy program for PPA.

The brains of the elderly and younger people with autism and schizophrenia may share a common link: Both have low levels of vitamin B12, researchers say.

Imaging reveals disruption of language network 'structural hubs' directly associated with aphasia following stroke,  reports Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. 
Note: Be sure that your aphasia treatment and practice exploits this important finding.   For information about how aphasia treatment can work on not only the speech/language centers but also the spreading connections among those brain centers,  schedule a consultation.  

EVA Park is a multi-user virtual world that gives people with aphasia unique opportunities to practice their speech and establish social connections. Funded by the Stroke Association, EVA Park was created at City University London by a multidisciplinary team of usability experts, speech and language therapy researchers and consultants with aphasia.  If you would like more information about EVA Park or the open day, please contact the team at eva@city.ac.uk.

La Trobe University (Melbourne, AU) aphasia experts are leading the way in looking at new and targeted treatment options to maximise recovery and communication for these people. This is about harnessing the neuroplasticity of the brain and how best to target treatment activities that stimulate neuronal recovery and reorganization.   

A new survey finds that three-quarters of young American adults would delay going to the hospital if they had stroke symptoms.   Since the mid-1990s, strokes among people younger than 45 have risen as much as 53 percent.     

  20% of the people with aphasia working with the staff at aphasiatoolbox are young- under the age of 45.    Not only are they receiving expert treatment, they also work and support each other in groups and cafes.   To discuss the optimal 
recovery tools for a young person with aphasia, schedule a complimentary consultation.

See the link to our previous newsletter - June 2014,  discussing Young People with Aphasia.    
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