The irony of aphasia is that the moment you’re handed a diagnosis of this communication disorder, you are filled with a need for words. Words that explain, understand, and comfort, given by doctors, caregivers, and other people with aphasia. You need information. You need to know that you’re not alone in your struggle. You need to hear how other people are getting through the day-to-day.
Ellayne Ganzfried and Mona Greenfield’s new book, The Word Escapes Me, is a collection of essays that provide a very necessary, 360 degree portrait of the experience, bringing together all members of the aphasia team — from the individual to speech therapists to loved ones — to offer advice, words of comfort, and ideas off the beaten path.
And we want all of us to read it together.
For the next few weeks, we’re going to discuss ideas presented in the pages. We’d like you to read along if possible, and you will be able to jump into the conversation on our Facebook page. Let’s jump into this online book club.
One of the earliest chapters is written by Mona Greenfield, PhD, LCSW, CCC-SLP. She talks about the sessions they hold at her center that are as social as they are therapeutic. By focusing language work around interesting activities, therapy moves into the background while current events, recipes, and relaxation techniques take center stage.
Poems and short stories not only give people practice reading aloud, but discussion afterward means that you can gather opinions on the piece while strengthening verbal skills.
Listening to music followed by discussing the piece means that people get to bond over classical, pop, or jazz music, enjoying the work and talking about it, too.
Pull out those Trivial Pursuit cards or make your own so the group can answer questions focused on an area of interest, such as historical events, popular culture, geography, or films.
Creative visualization allows members of the group a chance to relax, let their mind wander, and enter a space of inner peace.
The purpose of this approach is to consider the whole person. Yes, aphasia affects the brain, but those brains don’t free float five to six feet off the ground, sans body. Those brains are just one organ inside a complex individual who is so much more than a single aspect of their identity. They may be experiencing aphasia, but they are also music lovers and trivia nerds, too.
Tell us about your favourite activities. Are there ways those activities can be intertwined with therapy?
Join this online book club! Copies of The Word Escapes Me can be purchased through all online book retailers including Amazon. You can also purchase the book directly from Balboa Press, and discounts are offered on bulk orders.