The world of aphasia lost a legend on Friday. Audrey Holland died at her home in Arizona.


Audrey was a pioneer in the field of aphasia. At a time when everyone was focused on a medical model, Audrey dared to ask, “Why aren’t we taking care of the whole person?” She literally wrote the book on counseling. She advocated for everything that would improve the quality of life for families living with aphasia. Her courage to suggest yoga and meditation and music and art was revolutionary. Because of Audrey, these aspects of treatment became mainstream. Every person dealing with aphasia should thank Audrey for making this a part of aphasia care.


Audrey mentored countless speech-language pathologists, including me. She was tough with her opinions, demanding the best from everyone. But she also always gave of herself to show you the path that should be taken. And she was willing to hold your hand to help you down that path. Every professional working in the field of aphasia should thank Audrey for her guidance in making them better clinicians.


Her body of research on aphasia is astounding. She has published hundreds of research articles and several books. She was meticulous in her research standards. She also encouraged her clinical colleagues to consider stepping into the research arena. Every aphasia scholar should thank Audrey for the body of literature and the encouragement she gave to aphasia research.


Her friendship was unwavering. She was a powerhouse in the world of academics, but she was also “just Audrey.” Wherever her travels took her, she sought out the best local restaurant, and later in the evening, you would find her sharing a beverage with young clinicians and friends.


Everyone who knew Audrey personally is grateful for her ability to ignore her status and just simply be your friend. Audrey was our Aphasia Goddess (thank you, Shai Anbar, for that term). She will be truly missed but forever remembered for what she gave to aphasia.


—NAA President Darlene Williamson


audrey holland

Watch Audrey from this Ask the Expert webinar in 2021