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Speech-language pathology experts to present aphasia programs in Eau Claire

November 6, 2012

AphasiaEAU CLAIRE — Two of the nation's top speech-language pathologists, Dr. Jack S. Damico and Jerome Kaplan, will present programs on child language and aphasia interventions Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Eau Claire. The programs will benefit individuals diagnosed with aphasia and their caregivers as well as professionals who support those with aphasia.

It's estimated that about 300 people in the Chippewa Valley — including those who have aphasia and their caregivers — live with the day-to-day struggles that stem from aphasia — an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language but does not affect intelligence, said Dr. Jerry Hoepner, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

In the city of Eau Claire, approximately 100 people live with the disorder, and nationwide more people (about 1 million) live with the day-to-day struggles of aphasia than with disorders such as Parkinson's disease, HIV, multiple sclerosis or breast cancer, Hoepner said.

Hoepner's professional connections through his ongoing research and involvement with the annual Aphasia Camp in northern Wisconsin were instrumental in bringing Damico and Kaplan to Eau Claire.

Damico will present "Constructivism in Intervention: Practical Principles and Techniques for Children and Adults" from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Dakota Ballroom of UW-Eau Claire's Davies Center. Damico's program — designed for speech-language pathologists, students-in-training, and children's language and literacy experts — will discuss practical intervention techniques for children with literacy and language concerns, and conversational interventions for adults with aphasia.

The cost to attend is $89 per person ($19 for students). The fee includes materials and refreshments; attendees will be responsible for their own lunch.

"Jack Damico is a world renowned expert who has a broad range and depth of knowledge," Hoepner said. "He is an expert in adult and child discourse and literacy, and a highly respected aphasiologist. He has broad appeal across a range of speech pathologists, whether they are working in the schools or rehab settings."

Kaplan will lead a program open to the general public featuring the PBS documentary "After Words," which features people living successfully with aphasia, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in the Luther Campus Auditorium at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

Kaplan, a speech-language pathologist in the Aphasia Resource Center at Boston University, co-created "After Words" with Vincent Straggas, an award-winning filmmaker and director. Kaplan will be accompanied by individuals featured in the film who will share their stories and answer questions. The cost to attend is $15 per person ($30 for those desiring American Speech-Language-Hearing Association continuing education units and $10 for students).

Bringing Kaplan's program to Eau Claire is an attempt to reach out to individuals with aphasia and their caregivers, who tend to become isolated, Hoepner said.

"Unfortunately, medical models of treatment often give the false impression that rehabilitation occurs after strokes or brain injuries and then the person is fine," Hoepner said. "People with aphasia know that isn't true. Aphasia is often a lifelong change/compromise to communication that affects individuals with aphasia and their families. Recovery doesn't end after formal treatment but is really just beginning."

UW-Eau Claire's College of Education and Human Sciences, department of communication sciences and disorders, and Continuing Education/UW-Extension; the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire; and the Chippewa Valley Aphasia Group are sponsors of Damico and Kaplan's presentations in Eau Claire.

ASHA CEUs are pending for both programs. For additional information, to register, explore sponsorship opportunities or request reasonable accommodations for disabilities, call UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education at 715-836-3636 or 866-893-2423, use the Wisconsin Relay System (711), visit the Continuing Education website or email ce@uwec.edu.

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