Many people with aphasia use art, music, and theater to practice speech or communicate. While it’s possible to set up your own aphasia arts practice by joining any local art class and using some of our arts-focused One Aphasia Action activities to pair speech practice with artistic expression, we encourage you to seek out programming in your area. It is often offered through local speech clinics and support groups. Others meet over Zoom, and you can participate from anywhere worldwide.
We have rounded up a few below for music, writing, art, movies/film, theater, and dance. If you see one missing from our list, email us and let us know about the program with an online link to information for the program. We would love to add it.
We pulled a quote from each site to tell you about the program. Please get in touch with the program directly to learn more.
Sing Aphasia: “Our mission is to empower individuals and families affected by aphasia to find their voices and connect with others through music, education, and community.” (Online)
Neuro Music Therapy: Learn more about the International Aphasia Choir. “In May 2020, Trent Barrick, a board-certified music therapist, had an idea to connect people with aphasia through music. He contacted Dr. Gillian Velmer, a speech-language pathologist, about recruiting people with aphasia to sing in a ‘virtual aphasia choir.’ During Aphasia Awareness Month in June 2020, over 100 participants were recruited to vote on their favorite song and sign up for this very special project.” (Florida)
Aphasia Clefs (Hands in Harmony): “Hands in Harmony’s Aphasia Clefs is our first performance-based therapeutic choir. The Aphasia Clefs is a Neurologic Music Therapy group facilitated by one of our licensed, board-certified Neurologic Music Therapists. The choir is designed specifically for individuals who have aphasia, a speech disorder that results from damage of brain as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other cause. Group members engage in Neurologic Music Therapy interventions to accomplish non-music health outcomes, including enhancing breathing, speech, eliciting memories, while increasing social engagement and establishing community support.” (Rhode Island)
The Aphasia Tones Choir at Cal State East Bay: “The Aphasia Tones were developed in 2009 by Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, M.A.-CCC-SLP, as a way to offer therapeutic and social benefits of singing in a group to members of the Aphasia Treatment Program. Directed by talented SLHS students who implement aphasia friendly methods, the chorus sings popular music, presents concerts, and raises awareness of aphasia on campus and in the community.” (California)
Stand in the Light Memory Choir: “Stand in the Light Memory Choir uses the power of singing to move people with memory loss and their care partners to rediscover themselves, make friends, laugh together and contribute to their community.” (Wisconsin)
UNM NeuroChoir: “Stroke recovery and socializing through song.” (New Mexico)
MedRhythms Teletherapy: “MedRhythms is a comprehensive neuro-rehab company that provides neurologic music therapy specializing in the use of music to induce brain plasticity and aid in neuro-recovery. MedRhythms has conducted nearly 20,000 hours of direct patient care through in-home care and contracting with facilities in the Northeast. The company built the program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, the #3 Rehabilitation Hospital in the U.S. and Harvard Medical School affiliate, in Boston. This program is now the most comprehensive program of its kind in the country.” (Massachusetts and other locations)
SongShine Foundation: “SongShine classes offer a holistic approach to strengthening neurologically damaged and aging voices. An integration of body awareness and relaxation, breath management, music (vocalises and songs), speech (including diction and articulation), imagination, creative drama, playing a role (becoming another), and emotional engagement are combined to involve the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Classes are taught in an affirming atmosphere that gives participants an opportunity to take risks, be affirmed, and build community.” (California and other locations)
New Jersey School of Music: “Our board certified music therapists provide individualized treatment and supportive intervention through music.” As an NAA affiliate: “Music therapy sessions use mainly singing as a means to improve speech; interventions may include vocal exercises for difficult words or phrases, word recall of familiar songs, and the study of full length songs to improve vocabulary and ease of pronunciation. Sessions are tailored to individual needs and can be easily modified.” (New Jersey)
Ossia Music Therapy, LLC: “Virtual and in-person individual and group neurologic music therapy sessions in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, including the Ossia Aphasia Choir. In this small group, we use fun, neurologic music therapy techniques to strengthen vocal and oral motor muscles, expand expressive language, and interact with peers! Group and individual sessions can include Melodic Intonation Therapy, Rhythmic Speech Cueing and other techniques for Apraxia, songs for self-efficacy/empowerment, songwriting, and family-centered music ideas. Care-partner wellness classes and lessons are also available.” (North Carolina)
Poems in Speech: “This is a free zoom poetry program for people with aphasia. Write your own poem, read it out loud and tell us about it. Work on your creativity and your speech but you can read someone else’s poem or even use your device to speak.” (Online)
Thursday Night Poets in Eau Claire, WI: “Individuals with brain injuries and aphasia.” (Wisconsin)
Adler Aphasia Center: “Performing arts activities such as choral singing, Improv, mock court, drama, etc. Wellness activities such as art, yoga, exercise, gardening, cooking, etc.” (New Jersey)
Stroke Comeback Center: “Join fellow survivor Kim to explore a variety of artistic mediums (sketching, collaging, painting) to create your own artwork. All supplies will be provided. This class is open to all communication levels. No artistic experience required!” (Virginia and Maryland)
Schurig Center for Brain Injury Recovery: “Schurig Center’s Art Therapy for brain injury and stroke survivors is a creative journey of personal exploration using a variety of art materials. This class is designed to aid self-expression, increase communication and social interaction, build self-confidence, improve memory, and help with stress management.” (California)
SCALE: “SCALE offers virtual and in-person communication-focused groups, such as language skills, reading, writing, and conversation led by licensed speech language pathologists, as well as leisure-based groups such as art and movement/exercise.” (Maryland)
WAAC Group at Adler Aphasia Center: “WAAC is our video making group that meets once a week to make short videos that are scripted, filmed, and produced by the members of the Adler Aphasia Center.” (New Jersey)
MnCAN (Minnesota Connect Aphasia Now) Talk To Me Drama Club: “This club is an arts and drama outlet developed by and for people with aphasia. It provides diverse theater experiences for its participants. This includes theater-inspired games, improvisation, gesture work, and script reading as able and performance opportunities. The Drama Club provides aphasia friendly tools to participants including supports as per the supportive conversation approach to aphasia, and aphasia friendly written materials. It is meant to be a fun experience, sharing laughter and time for communication and supportive fellowship as well as an acting experience.” (Minnesota)
Play on Words: A drama club for people with aphasia, housed at the University of South Carolina. (South Carolina)
Dance Between Words at Aphasia Recovery Connection: “Aphasia Recovery Connection offers a weekly dance and movement class for people with aphasia to move, create, and connect with others while being guided by a world-class dance educator.” (Online)
More on Art and Aphasia
Please let us know about more programs so we can add them to our list. Email us with a link to the program and where it is located.