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Speech Therapy Key to Stroke Rehab, But Many Miss Out
Date:10/27/2011

o something about communication -- that it is not medically necessary, whereas it is medically necessary to walk."

NYU has four aphasia programs available to patients after they complete formal speech therapy.

The programs are free and operate more as support groups for individuals with communication impairments, not only giving them a place to practice their speech but also to combat the terrible isolation which so often accompanies a language impairment.

Last year, 1,000 people visited the groups, Riedel said.

"Individuals need a place to be with other people and be a part of the world," Riedel said. "They consider the groups almost their lifeline to connecting with the world." She said that get-togethers like these go a long way to help "the reintegration of people into society."

Lynn Stiles, 73, a retired social worker and copywriter, can attest to that.

She found Austin Speech Labs not long after suffering a stroke in February. She now speaks fluidly and eloquently after participating in the organization's eight-week "boot camp."

But she keeps coming back anyway.

"It's a community and everybody is in this boat more or less," Stiles said easily. "One of us makes a little progress, everybody congratulates them. Being able to come here every day for six weeks convinced me that I needed the people."

More information

The National Aphasia Association has a list of aphasia community groups.

SOURCES: Darlene S. Williamson, vice president, programs, National Aphasia Foundation, and executive director, The Stroke Comeback Center, Vienna, Va.; Shilpa Shamapant, founder, Austin Speech Labs, Texas; Casey Allen Gwinn, 41, Austin, Texas; Lynn Stiles, 73, Austin, Texas; Karen Riedel, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor and director, speech-language pathology, Rusk Institute of
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