At a Loss for Words: Aphasia
Local Support and Services at Chatham Hospital
Chatham Hospital is partnering with the Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP) to offer a weekly support group and programming for adults with aphasia and their caregivers living in Chatham County and surrounding areas.
Aphasia is estimated to affect more than 2,000,000 individuals in the U.S yet few people have heard of the term. So what is aphasia? It is an impairment of language that affects speaking, understanding (comprehension), reading, and writing. A person with aphasia might search for words, say the wrong words, or say garbled words that don’t make sense. People with aphasia have varying degrees of difficulty understanding what other people say and understanding written words.
Acquired aphasia is caused by injury to the brain such as stroke or head injury. Intelligence remains intact in aphasia, but the ability to communicate is reduced. The result can be significant frustration for the person with aphasia and for family and friends. Aphasia can have a profound impact on all activities of life and often results in individuals becoming isolated from their community and social interactions.
Individuals with aphasia strongest need is the patience and understanding of the public, friends, and family. “I find many times I’m treated as if I’m not there” is an unfortunate experience for many people with aphasia.
TAP, or the Triangle Aphasia Project, Unlimited, is a community-based nonprofit organization that helps individuals with aphasia, their families and friends, and the community. Maura Silverman, director of TAP, founded the group with the mission to “serve individuals with aphasia, their families and the community through innovative life participation approaches that maximize communicative potential and reduce barriers to social reengagement”.
TAP offers services ranging from conversation/language groups, book clubs, and gardening clubs, family/caregiver training, and training for healthcare and community service providers. All of these programs are based on a Life Participation to Aphasia model and are centered around the tenets of Hope, Purpose, Determination, and Engagement. Individuals with aphasia receive support and programming for as long as they want to regardless of their ability or inability to pay. In collaboration with the rehabilitation professionals in the community, TAP helps individuals return to the community with improved communicative confidence.
Chatham Hospital’s weekly TAP group meets on Fridays at 9:00 am on the Chatham Hospital campus. The meetings are held in the Medical Office Building, Conference Center, Suite 140.
In addition, for those individuals who require skilled assessment and treatment outpatient speech therapy services are also available at Chatham Hospital in Siler City.
How To Get Involved with Triangle Aphasia Project
Information and application is available at www.aphasiaproject.org or call outpatient therapy at 799-4690 to pick up an application. A medical referral is not needed to join the Triangle Aphasia Project.