Media memo: Dec. 1 program to benefit area residents living with aphasiaDecember 1, 2012
TO: News editors and directors
FROM: Julie Poquette, News Bureau Director
DATE: Dec. 1, 2012
SUBJECT: Dec. 1 program to benefit area residents living with aphasia
The media is welcome to cover the following event, co-sponsored by UW-Eau Claire and happening from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today on the Luther campus of Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Dr. Jerry Hoepner, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at UW-Eau Claire,and Heather Buhr, a UW-Eau Claire senior communication sciences and disorders student, will be on hand at the event to talk to the media and connect reporters with program participants. For more information, contact Heather Buhr at 920- 676-4366.
Jerome Kaplan, one of the nation's top speech-language pathologists, will present a program today for individuals diagnosed with aphasia and their caregivers as well as professionals who support those with aphasia.
The program, featuring the PBS documentary "After Words," which highlights people living successfully with aphasia, will be held in the Luther Campus Auditorium at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and is open to the public.
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.
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 UW-Eau Claire. Hoepner was instrumental in bringing Kaplan to Eau Claire for today's presentation.
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.
Kaplan will be accompanied by individuals featured in the film who will share their stories and answer questions.
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 Kaplan's presentation.