University researchers treat aphasia, ‘invisible’ disability – North Texas Daily

University researchers have started a new group known as Collaborative Aphasia to raise awareness and provide resources for people with poor communication.

Aphasia is caused by trauma to the brain, usually from a stroke, which affects speech, writing and the way one understands written and spoken language, according to Mayo Clinic. aAt least 2 million people in the United States live with this condition, according to National Aphasia Association.

TAC works to implement a local vision of making North Texas an aphasia-friendly community.

“TAC is really a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary, personal collaborative network that we try to build by, for and with people with aphasia,” said Gloria Ullens, project manager and associate professor in the School of Health and Public Service.

TAC’s goal is to connect people with aphasia with hospital discharge teams, post-discharge teams, clinicians, researchers, aphasia groups, religious leaders, community leaders and the general community to make sure people don’t fall into fissures after they are discharged from the hospital, Olness said.

“This dump point is the weak point,” said Ullnes. “This is the point of inflection where we put a lot of our focus and energy.”

Ollness said it is estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 annual hospital discharges contain identifiers coding for verbal confinement across Collin, Dallas, Denton, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.

“We have an estimated 22,000 to 27,000 people with aphasia in our area,” said Olnes. “[An estimated] Less than 200 currently have the support and post-layout services available to them.”

Carol Dow Richards, whose son was diagnosed with aphasia after having a stroke in 1995, said that feeling out of aphasia without access to resources is like “falling off a cliff.” Quality of life for those living with the condition Dow-Richards said community awareness of the condition was “pathetically low”.

If you have aphasia and go out in public […] They often think you have a substance abuse weakness – they may think you are drunk [or] Maybe they think you’re not very smart, said Dow Richards. “The effect on your psyche when you go out in public and deal with it is less than bad is like having aphasia. These people often become very isolated.”

Dow-Richards and her son co-founded the Aphasia Recovery Group in 2013 to bring people with aphasia together, as well as their family and friends. Dow-Richards said the ARC Facebook page has more than a quarter of a million users.

Olens said that aphasia resonates in all webs of life, even when only one person has the disorder.

“The good thing [is] there is [are] hopefull [and] Olness said. “There are rehabilitation and support services to get it [people who have aphasia] Share in life. There is support and services for their friends and family about strategies and ways of communicating with someone and finding out what is going through their heads, even though they have aphasia.”

TAC sent the first wave of communications to the 40-45 physicians running post-discharge teams and people with aphasia in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to encourage others to join the organization. Catalina Asaad, a graduate student in speech-language pathology, said the second wave would meet the needs of the Hispanic community.

Assad will cooperate to help TAC translate the requests into Spanish. Asad said Hispanics are largely disadvantaged when it comes to the health care system, and she sees therapy in psychotherapy as a step toward bridging that gap.

“Aphasia does not only affect the patient, but the family,” Assad said. “The [Hispanic] The minority community is family oriented, and that’s huge for us because at some point, if you don’t get the right materials or information from your doctor, you’re left in the dark.”

Olness said TAC needs to be prepared to serve people with aphasia regardless of their background, identity, socioeconomic status, language or culture. It’s about “learning how to build those bridges,” Dow Richards said, to create a path to inclusion and create welcoming communities for those with “invisible disabilities.”

“As a society, we build ramps and open doors for people with physical disabilities,” Olness said. “We need to build ramps for communication and open doors of communication for people with aphasia, so they can go back and integrate into society.”

Excellent explanation by Miranda Thomas

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