Last week I visited the Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is a beautiful facility with a welcoming and compassionate speech pathology staff. I was invited to speak to their Stroke and Brain Injury Support Group. They were a wonderful group of people who listened intently and offered a wealth of information.. The question/answer and discussion segment was enlightening, their stories and accomplishments were outstanding. We shared our difficulties concerning aphasia, coping skills, the feeling of isolation, and the awkward feeling of being “different.” We discussed how the stroke/brain injuries gave us a new life which we should enjoy to the fullest. We decided to discard the ‘old baggage’ and eliminate people from our life who make us uncomfortable. I was asked what I missed the most after my stroke; my response was an emotional moment – teaching. As the group was leaving a lovely woman approached me in tears. She also was a teacher who desperately needed to teach again. We brainstormed and arrived at some possibilities for her to return to the world of education. She hugged me as we both cried for our loss of teaching abilities and new ideas to be part of the education system again including writing lesson plans and up dating curriculum. We both departed with a sense of hope and thoughts of beginning her new life. Support groups can change lives – join one to listen and share. You will definitely feel better.
Tag Archives: social ignorance
Silent and listen are key elements within a conversation. This is especially true for people with aphasia. Background noise distracts and can cause confusion for the person with aphasia. Both parties need to listen in able to comprehend what is being said and to understand each other. There will be moments when the person with aphasia needs more time to comprehend or respond to your comments – silence on your part is extremely helpful for the person with aphasia. It allows them to collect their thoughts and respond. Ironically there is a commonality to Silent and Listen in all conversations
SILENT and LISTEN share the same letters.
I attended an event recently. This lovely young lady came to me and we began talking about the day’s events. I noticed she kept looking over to several young men who were smiling and definitely had an agenda. Finally she asked me “Why do you use your hand? Are you retarded too?” My response was ” you are not retarded, you are an intelligent, and articulate young lady,” Her response was she had down syndrome and the young men wanted to know what your problem was and if you were retarded? “No, we do not use that word and they must be ignorant and drunk.” Using my coping skill I ignored the epitome of ignorance and avoided an upsetting conversation.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder which occurs in one out of eight hundred births. Basically it is the 21st gene that has been extra genetic material attached to it which causes physical and intellectual development (Down Syndrome Association). Down syndrome children and parents have made great strides, they are increasingly integrating into society;mainstream classrooms; working and ordinary activities like everyone participate in during their life.
The courage, patience, and emotional rollercoaster ride of their parents is beyond believe. It made my stroke/aphasia feel like pebble on the road of life. Some people forget we are all in this world together and need to accept differences.