January 13, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL
Imagine being unable to communicate your wants and needs. This includes reading a menu, ordering your own meal at a restaurant, or relaying your opinions about your finances. These are a few of the effects of aphasia, a language disorder which affects a person’s ability to understand when listening or reading, as well as communicate, whether verbally or in writing. This devastating condition often comes at the result of a stroke. A speech-language pathologist assists with remediation and compensation for the deficits resulting from aphasia. They also educate family members and friends in techniques to be better communication partners, since caring for someone that has suffered a stroke or aphasia can be a complex task.
In 2014, a client with aphasia working with Judith Ball, M.S., CCC-SLP, Clinical Associate Professor, Speech-Language Pathology, requested assistance in facilitating a community event to raise awareness of aphasia and help people understand how to communicate with individuals with aphasia. Every year since then (except during COVID) the MWU Chapter of National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) have sponsored this event.
The most recent Stroke and Aphasia Awareness Event was hosted at Midwestern University on October 22 by NSSLHA and organized by Ms. Ball, the chapter advisor, along with Keren Rosario (SLP’23) and Lindsey Palazzola (SLP’23) was held at MWU’s Multispecialty Clinic in Downers Grove on October 20, 2022.
To help support patients and their families, students from Midwestern’s Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Clinical Psychology, and Osteopathic Medicine Programs came together to provide educational tips, resources, and encouragement to more than 100 guests.
Kayla Hicks (SLP ’23) educated guests about aphasia and gave tips on how individuals with aphasia can more effectively communicate, as well as how others can better communicate with an individual with aphasia. Liz Murphy (OMS-IV), explained about types of strokes and stroke prevention. Courtney Robinson (OT ‘24) and Anja Goetten (OT ‘24) discussed the role of the occupational therapist in the care of individuals with stroke and aphasia, as well as home and community safety recommendations and adaptive equipment that can aid the independence of patients. Katarina Prociuk (PT ’23) and Rachel Matulle (PT ‘23) shared how physical therapy is a valuable component of treatment for stroke and aphasia, as well as provided safety tips. Lastly, Valerie Prelee (CP ’26) and Sheiva Nadooshan (CP ’26) talked about the importance of maintaining good mental health, whether you are directly suffering from stroke or aphasia or caring for someone who is.
Some individuals with stroke or aphasia and their spouses also shared their experiences at the event and provided insightful information on what has helped them in their recovery. An overarching theme of ‘I’m still me – never give up. You can continue to improve’ resonated with Midwestern University faculty and students, as well as event-goers.
To learn more about Midwestern University’s Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Psychology, and Osteopathic Medicine Programs, please visit: https://www.midwestern.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs