Therapeutic groups for aphasia launched in Suffolk County.
by Jordan Chapman
No matter the season or semester, your age or background, the aphasia programs offered at Adelphi University’s Garden City campus and Hauppauge Center are always there to help.
A communication disorder that can result from many types of severe brain injury, aphasia—typically caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury or brain tumor—affects all aspects of communication, including speaking and understanding of oral or written language.
Though the Garden City campus at Adelphi has had therapeutic groups for those who suffer from aphasia for quite some time, the Hy Weinberg Center for Communication Disorders launched a program for individuals at the Hauppauge Center in September 2012, one of few groups of its kind in Suffolk County.
According to Bonnie Soman, D.A., Hy Weinberg Center director and licensed speech-language pathologist, most people don’t receive further aphasia speech therapy past what their insurance covers because of the high expense such sessions incur.
There is a common misconception that people with aphasia can’t improve after about one year. “That has been disproven,” Dr. Soman said. “The brain has plasticity, meaning it can mold and take over damaged parts…individuals can make improvements and show gains long after the brain injury has occurred.”
Dr. Soman indicated that each group session has three goals: therapeutic, helping the group members communicate; support, enabling group members to help one another; and social, engaging in conversation with others who understand their challenges.
Each session—run by a graduate student working toward an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology and supervised by a credentialed speech-language pathologist—offers a place where others who have had similar experiences can share their troubles and triumphs in a social setting.
“When a person has a stroke and they’re taken to the hospital, all of their family and friends are there for them. However, as they move out of the healthcare setting and struggle with communicating, it’s not unusual for their social networks to disappear,” Dr. Soman said. “The social aspect should not be downplayed,” she said, and even noted a holiday gathering for group members and their families.
Families who take care of someone with aphasia also are encouraged to attend separate group sessions to help them better prepare for challenges or struggles they or their loved ones encounter. Family sessions are held at the same time, in the same building as aphasia group sessions.
Enrollment for services is ongoing at both the Hauppauge and Garden City locations. For information, pricing and scheduling, contact Dr. Soman at 516.877.4845 or email@example.com.
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