When you are living with aphasia, no one understands what you’re going through quite like those who are going through it, too. Magee’s Aphasia Community Support Group is made up of a diverse group of men and women living with aphasia along with many caregivers who support them. Some members have been coming for years; others just a few months. It is a lively crew and a meaningful experience for all involved.
The Aphasia Community Support Group at Magee was started in 1991 and has been nationally and locally recognized for its advocacy over the course of its existence. The group provides an opportunity for individuals to practice speech and language skills in a safe and supportive setting, provides education about aphasia, and encourages socialization among the members. The resounding message shared by the members is that life doesn’t stop because of aphasia.
Earlier this month, 22 individuals gathered at Magee for the June meeting of the Aphasia Community Support Group. After introductions of new members, announcements regarding opportunities for participation in research studies, and the upcoming Strides for Stroke walk, the topic of conversation turned to a fundamental question: Why do so few people know what aphasia is when nationally, more than one million Americans are living with it?
Our group members were full of insight and ideas, including the difficulty people with aphasia have advocating for themselves. Fortunately, the members of Magee’s Aphasia Group aren’t letting their communication difficulties stop them. They have initiated the exciting process of generating an “Aphasia Proclamation” for Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter to sign, which will officially declare June Aphasia Awareness Month in Philadelphia. In addition to the Aphasia Support Group being a place for members to share their fears, strategies, and experiences with aphasia, this project is yet another example of the strength and resolve of these individuals.
Meetings are held at 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month (except August) at Magee Rehabilitation. If you would like to receive more information about the Aphasia Support Group, please contact Sarah Lantz at (215) 587-3142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.