Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

Students to participate in eighth annual Aphasia Camp in New Auburn

RELEASED: Aug. 24, 2011

Aphasia Camp
Bob and Diane Wilkins are assisted by physical therapist Steve Sieberling during a canoe trip at last year's Aphasia Camp.

EAU CLAIRE — Students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will volunteer at Aphasia Camp Sept. 9-11. In its eighth year of operation in northern Wisconsin, the camp attracts participants from across the U.S. and Canada who are living with aphasia resulting from stroke or other head injuries. UW-Eau Claire faculty and students have been involved in the innovative camp since its inception.

Seventeen students from UW-Eau Claire's communication sciences and disorders department and three kinesiology students will work at the camp this year along with their instructors, Dr. Jerry Hoepner, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, and Dr. Marquell Johnson, assistant professor of kinesiology. Two UW-Eau Claire computer science students will serve in technology support roles.

Aphasia affects a person's ability to express and understand verbal and written language. Treatment often involves speech therapy that focuses on relearning and practicing language skills and using alternative or supplementary communication methods. Aphasia Camp, held at the Eau Claire YMCA's Camp Manitou near New Auburn, provides opportunities for people with aphasia to practice their communication skills in a supportive setting.

One of the biggest issues facing individuals with aphasia is the risk for social isolation. The camp offers opportunities to participate in meaningful activities in a supportive setting, Hoepner said. By experiencing success at camp, participants are more empowered and confident in attempting similar activities at home.

"This year, our motto is 'Because of Camp,'" Hoepner said. "We hope to encourage people to engage in more activity — and thus, more opportunities to communicate — because of their experiences at Aphasia Camp."

According to Hoepner, who coordinates the camp with Mary Beth Clark, Tom Sather, Michele Knutson and other colleagues from Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, he has witnessed campers going back to favorite pastimes such as golf or archery, taking up new activities like woodworking or staying connected to other campers through email after attending camp.

"One man told us that he can now mow his lawn again due to the confidence he gained at camp," Hoepner said.

A Blugold Commitment grant was secured to help fund the student learning experiences at the camp.

"Students have the unique opportunity to see people in genuine settings, from morning through night. This gives them insights into both struggles and successes. For many students it changes the way they think about therapy and the people they serve," said Hoepner.

The students work closely with the 25 campers, making them feel comfortable and helping them participate in activities such as fishing, hiking, boating, woodworking, adaptive biking, fly fishing, photography, yoga, adaptive golf, music and adaptive archery. Immersing students in a multi-day camp where they interact with people with aphasia and their families help them better understand the population they will serve, Hoepner said.

For details about UW-Eau Claire's involvement in the Aphasia Camp, contact Dr. Jerry Hoepner, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, at hoepnejk@uwec.eduor 715-836-3980.

-30-

RD/DW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.