We’re continuing with our affiliate highlight series, this time turning our eye to University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

What Makes University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) Unique?

We are the University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP). We’re the oldest aphasia program in the country, and we’re one of about 12 ICAPs (Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Programs) in the world.

While that’s important and speaks to our approach and experience — what really sets us apart is our staff. Seeing each client progress and regain confidence alongside communication skills is really at the heart of what we do and why we do it. Our staff is super dedicated. In fact, we have clients leave but stay in touch for decades after having attended a session or two. When we say we offer individualized, intensive, and innovative care to our clients that just scratches the surface.

Great Success Stories

We love all of our clients! One success story that comes to mind, and it may sound familiar to those who have aphasia and their care partners because it happens frequently, is Louis Smith. Louis was a jazz musician, a trumpeter, in his 70s. He had a major stroke and was left without movement and without speech.

His wife, Lulu, was told to put him in a home, that he would never regain independence. She started to bring music to the hospital, playing his favorites. When he started tapping a toe, that was the sign she needed. She knew it would be a long road, but that it was one they could travel together.

They came to UMAP after Louis was able to again move independently. Through music therapy, individualized approaches, and intensive therapy, he was able to regain some ability to communicate. Louis has since passed away, but he is just one client of many who we will never forget. You can read more about Louis and other success stories on our site.

University of Michigan Aphasia Program

They Love What They Do

Seeing our clients make gains, surprising themselves, makes us happy. Seeing their confidence grow as they make progress, whether it’s big steps or little ones. Seeing hope and independence coming back to both our clients and their care partners.

Services and Support Groups

We offer intensive, innovative and individualized aphasia therapy using the life participation approach. Typically we offer 12 sessions a year, each one is usually three to four weeks long. Each session includes 24 hours a week of group therapy, individual therapy, music therapy (optional), technology training, social outings and care partner support.

Each client has a primary clinician who they work with and who oversees their care at UMAP. However, each client also gets the benefit of the team. The group is lead by different Speech-Language Pathologists, so each client is exposed to a variety of styles that each SLP brings to the job. This is consistently one of the things our clients like best about our program – knowing they have a primary person to go to, but keeping things fresh and challenging by working with others.

The social aspects of the program and therapy are also great in that they expose our clients to real-world situations, such as ordering at a restaurant, to help them gain confidence in typical life scenarios. You can learn more about the components and approach.

We also offer the University of Michigan Aphasia Community (UMAC) group that meets once a week for several hours. It’s great for those who live in the area and who are thinking of attending a full UMAP session or who have attended and want to keep practicing the skills and approaches they learned.

It is also open to anyone in the aphasia community – all skill levels are welcome. We will be piloting teletherapy for clients in Michigan and California who have attended UMAP in the past. As we figure out the needs of a program like this we plan to expand it.

University of Michigan Aphasia Program

Special Services for Caregivers

Yes! We have a care partner curriculum built into our program. Care partners are also invited to participate in therapy if they want to. We are also considering developing some additional resources specifically for care partners. Stay tuned on that.

Last Thoughts

We offer full-time and part-time options for each session. We have had clients from all over the world attend our program and often return to continue the progress they have made. We introduced a new financial assistance policy in 2017, so while our program is out-of-pocket, we have tried to find ways to help offset the cost.

We are part of the University Center for Language and Literacy (UCLL) at the University of Michigan Mary A. Rackham Institute. If anyone has questions or would like a tour or to speak with a former client about their experience at UMAP, please reach out to us (734) 764-8440 or ucll@umich.edu.

University of Michigan Aphasia Program

More Information

Do you live in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area? Contact the University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) for speech services and support groups.

We’re spending 2018 highlighting our affiliates in order to make it easier for caregivers to find services for their loved ones. Are you an affiliate of the NAA and would like to be highlighted in a future installment? Please fill out the form and we’ll contact you.