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VIDEO:  Whole Person Recovery - Aphasiatoolbox Wednesday Cafe discussion


Editor's Note:
Aphasiatoolbox offers several online conversational cafes for subscribers.  To try out a cafe, click here.


This video shows our Wednesday Cafe in a typical telepractice session.  
Our topic is:  How do we go from being a person with aphasia to a person recovering or recovered from aphasia?
The key ideas are: 
1/ Join an aphasia group - face to face, online or both; 
2/ Keep practicing, including independent practice; 
3/ Be social  - meet and communicate with other people;
4/ Physical exercise is good therapy; 
5/ Concerning neuroplasticity,
    Use it or lose it; 
    Use it AND improve it!
Video   Wed Cafe   March 7 2014
Video Wed Cafe March 2014


FEATURE:  Whole Person Recovery - How Exercise helps your brain grow



Editor's Notes:

Research into "neurogenesis"- the ability of certain brain areas to grow new brain cells-has recently taken an exciting turn, showing that we can create  new brain cell growth through exercise. 


Article Excerpt: 

The hippocampus, a brain area closely linked to learning and memory, is especially receptive to new neuron growth in response to endurance exercise. Exactly how and why this happens wasn't well understood until recently. Research has discovered that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream while we're breaking a sweat. Over time, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which in turns stimulates the growth of new nerves and synapses - the connection points between nerves - and also preserves the survival of existing brain cells.


What this boils down to in practice is that regular endurance exercise, like jogging, strengthens and grows your brain. In particular, your memory and ability to learn get a boost from hitting the pavement.  Along with the other well-established benefits of endurance exercise, such as improved heart health, this is a pretty good reason to get moving. If jogging isn't your thing, there's a multitude of other ways to trigger the endurance effect - even brisk walking on a regular basis yields brain benefits.


FEATURE:  Whole Person Recovery - Diet 
What's good for the brain obviously is good for stroke and aphasia!




Caregiver Corner:  

Editor's Note: 

In this edition, we introducing Maura Sopher, an aphasia  practice coach, caregiver and owner of The Stroke Foundation website (Baltimore, MD). 




Due to space considerations, we're highlighting the first part of the Maura's article here.



As an optimist I choose to focus on good not bad;  can do not can't do;   solutions not problems;  and the possible not the improbable. 


When my brother had a stroke 4 � years ago,  his doctor said 'he would stop learning and reach a plateau after 3 months.' This doctor's thinking was defeating and devastating to someone who has suffered injury to the brain and, most importantly, it is inaccurate.


My brother suffered right side paralysis and developed aphasia after his stroke.  I'm not writing this for anyone to feel sorry for me or these circumstances - I am blessed because my brother is alive -- and I choose blessings over bitterness.


I'm writing this for two reasons:  1) it is imperative people understand what strokes are and what to do if you witness someone having a stroke -- or think you may be having one yourself; and  2) There is no limit to recovery as long as you are determined, have a positive mental attitude and, as my brother says, "practice, practice, practice." to which I add,  " Smart practice, smart practice."


When my brother had his stroke I decided to channel my feelings in a productive and positive way so I created a website - http://www.thestrokefoundation.com/,  to offer free resources and information to those who have been effected by stroke. 


My goals were to educate myself and learn as much as possible about the effects of stroke but focus specifically on the recovery process.  I fully believe with today's technology, tools and a strong belief in the body and minds power to heal itself, that everyone can overcome the damaging effects of a stroke - there is no limit to healing. 


Stroke is the number 3 cause of death in the United States and the number 1 cause of disability.  Every 45 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.  A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to the brain.  When blood stops flowing to brain cells, the brain cells die and this is when damage starts to occur; this is why it is imperative to get medical help as fast as possible.  If you are having a stroke -- seconds maymean the difference between recovering fully and becoming severely disabled mentally and physically for life.


When my brother had his stroke, his wife knew what was happening and she got him to the hospital as soon as humanly possible.  She did everything right, everything you are supposed to do, however, the doctor who saw my brother while he was having a stroke and while brain cells were dying each second, sent him home.   


Continued . . . 


See the full article here.


 SLP Corner:   Disability is a potent equalizer


Editor's Note:

This month's column is written by Peg Maginn, a speech pathologist at Turnstone in Fort Wayne.


This is the edited version;  please click here to read Peg's full version


I am a speech pathologist who helps people learn to cope with the loss of skills experienced after suffering damage to their brain through trauma or disease.


In my work world, all of those divisive categories into which people have been placed - by themselves or others - dissolve into insignificance.


Instead, all of the people who enter, whether clients or staff, are appreciated for the unique skills, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses they bring into the agency. We work together to help each individual reach his or her maximum potential so as to live the most fulfilling life possible. And we are dependent on one another to achieve that objective. 


Yes, my clients' stories are often heartbreaking, and I share their grief and sadness at times. The work to be done is difficult and often frustrating, and it is challenging for me to balance my roles as teacher, cheerleader and taskmaster. But all of this is far outweighed by the feeling of sheer joy that comes from being a part of such a hardworking, united, fun group of people. 


I love my work, and I wish everyone could experience the kind of meaningful employment that I enjoy. After 39 years in my profession, I recognize that my clients have taught me the most important things I know. These are what every person needs and deserves, and they are what I wish for you as you awaken each day of this new year:


- To be valued and respected, no matter what your background or current circumstances;


- To be challenged and encouraged, no matter what your skills and abilities;


- To be inspired to be a part of something meaningful for the greater good of all, and,


- To be cognizant of the strength and resiliency that is within yourself and your fellow citizens.


Profile:  Stroke Comeback Center, Vienna, VA 




The Stroke Comeback Center has just started celebrating its ten year anniversary of  helping people with aphasia. 


In January 2005, Stroke Comeback Center (SCC) opened its doors as a community services organization for survivors living with aphasia and their families. The Center is now a well-known center practicing the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia, and provides affordable speech and language programs.


Darlene S. Williamson is the founder and Executive Director of the Stroke Comeback Center;  she was just elected as the new president of the National Aphasia Association Board of Directors.     

Says Williamson, 


"As the new president of the NAA Board, I have two initial goals - to reenergize the NAA brand and unite individuals and organizations across the country to ensure a coordinated effort on behalf of people with aphasia and their families." 

"We are already in the process of refreshing the NAA logo which will be incorporated in our web presence and on new materials during the coming months." 

"Next, we will renew our outreach to people with aphasia, their families, caregivers, speech-language therapists, medical professionals, the public and other constituencies."  "Our goal is to increase two-way communications with stakeholders so we can better meet their needs and the needs of NAA."

Williamson has won several clinical and community service awards for her work on behalf of people with aphasia.

Read this article about SCC.     


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March 24, 2014
"Finally, when finding words is hard, finding help is easy . . . with BCAT." Contact us to find out how you can become a person recovering from aphasia.
In this edition
This is Sharon Rennhack, the  chief  editor for the aphasiatoolbox newsletter.  
This edition is about Whole Person Recovery. what is it, how does it help a person with aphasia, how to get started, etc.
In a video dialog, Bill Connors and I discuss the concept of Whole Person Recovery; 
In a video, members of the Wednesday Aphasiatoolbox Conversational Cafe discuss how to go about being a person with aphasia to a person recovering or recovered from aphasia;  
We discuss exercise and diet as a component of whole person recovery;
One of our new Aphasia Practice Coaches, Maura Sopher, writes her first person view of neuroplasticity in action.
Additionally, we introduce a new staff member - Tracy Sippl.

Sharon Rennhack

Chief Editor 
Master Clinician Bill Connors on  Whole Person Recovery


Editor's Note:

Newsletter Editor Sharon Rennhack interviews Master Clinician Bill Connors about  Whole Person Recovery.    


Interview with Bill Connors on  Whole Person Recovery
Interview with Bill Connors -  Whole Person Recovery


Welcome  Tracy  Sippl   


Aphasiatoolbox wants to introduce you to our newest staff member - Tracy Sippl.
Tracy Sippl

Tracy is  an SLP with  over 25 years of experience working with children and adults,  both face to face and using telepractice.


She lives in Seymour,Wisconsin, with her family.

Read her blog in ASHA.
Upcoming  Courses from Aphasiatoolbox


These are "can't miss" seminars.   Learn use these revolutionary techniques and tools to how to truly exploit neuroplasticity in ......


"The most informative and interactive course I ever attended on adult communication problems."  MS,  OH


"Finally I feel confident in treating aphasia."  Joan B.  SLP OH


Bill Connors is offering the following onsite presentations in 2014, on  
Aphasia-Apraxia Therapy: Exploiting Neuroplasticity :


 March 29, 2014  Mahoning County OH, 1-day seminar 

April 26, 2014  
Scottsdale, AZ, 1 day seminar
This presentation will offer innovative treatment protocols and technology-based tools that enhance clinical skills, assist in the integration of evidence and patient values into aphasia rehabilitation, and save clinician preparation time.  


Techniques and tools that optimize exploitation of neuroplasticity to maximize aphasia recovery will be featured.

Participants will observe demonstrations of and be involved in treatment including live telepractice sessions and video recordings that utilize the comprehensive Brain Compatible Aphasia Treatment Program. The session will be highly interactive and will address the synergies between the treatment of adult and childhood speech and language disorders. 

For information on these courses, click here to contact us  or phone 724-494-2534.     
We got mail!


Editor's Note:

The following is an email response to our February newsletter.


If you want to send us your thoughts to an article that we publish, you can send your comments  to us at:  information @aphasiatoolbox.com.  


Please use "Newsletter" in the subject line.  




I found the February Aphasia News to be very interesting and informative.  I am speech coach for my sister-in-law, Missy, and all of us involved with her recovery are very glad we found Bill Connors and Aphasiatoolbox.  He has been able to give us hope and direction for 12 years now.


I'm glad that Bill hates Aphasia because we in the trenches certainly do - and it truly does isolate people.  That is a very constant battle the whole family fights.

I enjoyed the "Tip of my Tongue" song from the Adler Aphasia Center.  Is there any way to get the words so Missy & I can sing along?
Sharon & Bill - keep up the good work!
 Marg Ziehler


"Tip of my Tongue" Lyrics


Editor's Note:

You asked;  we delivered - thanks to the Adler Center

Tip of My Tongue 
All I want is to be understood  
It's on the tip of my tongue but it's just no good  
I'd explain it all if I only could  
All I want is to be understood 

The word's in my head but I can't get it out  
There's a disconnect between brain and mouth  
Why did this happen? What's it about?  
Why why why?  
(repeat chorus) 

Don't talk over me, I'm standing right here  
It's not that I'm slow, it's not that I'm weird  
Try to have patience, try to slow down  
Just try, try try  
(repeat chorus) 

Aphasia, we're a million people strong  
Aphasia, we've been invisible for too long  
(repeat chorus)  
Winner -   DCSHA


Islamiat Adamoh is the winner of  a gift that Aphasiatoolbox contributed to the DC Metro
Speech- Language and Hearing Association. 

Ms. Adamoh is a graduate student clinician in the Washington DC metro area and works at the Washington Home. 

She won a full year subscription to aphasiatoolbox.

Congratulations  Islamiat! 
Profile:  Judi and Howard Snyder


Judi and Howard Snyder are clients of Aphasiatoolbox. 


Judi is an Aphasia Practice Coach working with her husband Howard, a 15-year stroke survivor with aphasia,  and  she soon will be working with other clients at ATB. They were recently interviewed in The Jewish Times for  an article called  " In Sickness and Health".


Judi, an active member of Beth El Congregation in Baltimore, said she finds a great deal of support at her synagogue.         


 "Even to this day, if I go to services or an event, a lot of people ask how Howard is doing," she said. "It doesn't seem rote. I think they really care."


Judi  recalls  what her children went through as they adjusted to the "new normal" after her husband's stroke.  


"I'll never forget David saying he was 'the man of the house now.' He was only 12. And Sophie missed her dad reading to her. Ben doesn't remember much about his father before the stroke. Thank goodness for videos."


Every year on the anniversary of her husband's stroke, "we celebrate life," she added. "I'm not trying to paint a picture like everything is rosy. We've had lots of tough days, but I can't be negative.


"I am so sorry this happened to him  . . .   No one would ever want to have a loved one go through this. But I am lucky to have been with this man. He's brilliant and funny, and I enjoy his company a lot. I can go to bed at night knowing I've done all I can and that I will continue to do so because Howard's worth it."


Perseverence and Practice - Hallmarks of Whole Person Recovery


The Aphasia Center of Innovative Treatment, Inc | | bill@aphasiatoolbox.com | http://www.aphasiatoolbox.com
800 Vinial Street, B408
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

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