Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NSSLHA Meeting Minutes May 4th, 2009

NSSLHA Meeting 5/4/2009
Speaker: Debbie Schram
- Announcement: Work for Hallmark Rehabiliation for one year after you graduate, and they will pay for your tuition or student loan. You can visit their website for more information at

- She has been in recovery since July of 2007
- She progressed into state where she couldn’t communicate with anyone. She didn’t know what was going on.
- She struggled to find the words to use to say “I had a stroke.”
- Has left hemisphere brain tumor
- Gave her 4 months to live.
- She was given signs on paper so she could point to yes, no, right left.
- She had speech therapist that came to her house. She had worksheets for filling out phrases, prepositional phrases, sequencing steps.
- The speech therapy was helpful.
- Her and the speech therapist would have conversations.
- At 18th month, there was a period of spontaneous recovery- she was able to communicate much better.
- She would use content words and leave out all of the function words. At 18 months, she could use more function words so people could understand what she meant.
- Her comprehension is good.
- She participated in a cancer retreat. She was overwhelmed. She was aware of everything that was going on, but she couldn’t understand what was wrong with her and why she couldn’t communicate.
- She could write, but she couldn’t speak.
- She thinks others perceived her to be retarded, incompetent.
- Using gestures, the computer, facial expressions, yes or no questions work well for her.
- She has trouble finding specific words.
- Pictures work well, flashcards that have a picture on one side and word on the other are also helpful.
- DMV, police don’t understand what aphasia is. Using a card that explains her situation helps.
- One thing SLPs can do to help people with aphasia is help the families understand what the impairments are and what they aren’t, what the patient’s strengths and weaknesses are.
- Debbie is in a rehabiliation program at Coastline College for people with brain injuries. Debbie is in the language class. All of her classmates have good comprehension, but poor speaking abilities.
- Her sister, Marilyn, uses various strategies to communicate with Debbie – she can point to an option of 2 things, waiting for a response, not talking too much, not guessing/anticipating what Debbie is going to say, and to not push Debbie to talk.
- Writing is easier for her than speaking. Sometimes the same mistake comes out in the writing as it does in speaking.
- She is good at reading out loud. It is a little hard to pronounce some words.

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