What is aphasia and how can we help?

The May 25 Chaska Rotary presentation was from Julia Halverson, a Speech Language Pathologist at Ridgeview Medical Center, and director of Minnesota Connect Aphasia Now (MnCAN).

Aphasia is a communication disorder resulting in difficulty talking, reading, writing, math and sometimes, comprehension. As a result, communication can be limited and challenging. Aphasia may lead to painful social isolation. It is often misunderstood to be an intellectual disorder, which it is NOT. Other causes of aphasia include brain tumors, head injuries, infections, degenerative neurologic conditions and Primary Progressive Aphasia.

One in 275 people in Minnesota have aphasia. Effective conversation strategies are learned and practiced in fun and supportive groups, including the creation of a choir (only the 3rd in the nation).. The overall goal is to increase quality of life by decreasing social isolation, gaining new skills and building confidence. Each MnCAN conversation group is facilitated by a licensed speech-language pathologist (Heather). Each Aphasia patient took turns sharing their experience which was received by a standing ovation. The life participation goals for the group is, “I can”. Each participant suggested we encourage anyone in our circle of friends, relatives, and colleagues to seek a MnCAN group for support and confidence.