Another successful National Aphasia Association Speaking Out conference was held this year in Boston , and those who attended seemed to have a GREAT time. Many stimulating discussions, and presentations and LOTS of socializing combined to make it a memorable event.
There were many discussions throughout the weekend about greater advocacy for people with aphasia – and the importance of educating the public about aphasia. In a session attended by professionals, it was agreed that we REALLY need Oprah to do a show about aphasia. Many of us have written to her individually over the years, without success – but the group decided that a bigger, organized plan of action MIGHT be successful.
On Oprah’s web site, she invites people to suggest topics for future shows. As we all know, there is strength in numbers. An idea was put forward to do a MASSIVE e-mail effort – all together on one day – to see if we can make our voices heard. We thought that if Oprah received 100…200…300…messages in ONE DAY asking her to do a show about aphasia – we MIGHT achieve our goal. The messages need to come from EVERYONE – not just professionals – but people with aphasia, their partners, family members and friends. Imagine if Oprah’s web site received messages from huge numbers of people – from all across North America and the rest of the world. We may finally get our chance to “Speak Out” on her show.
Here is the plan:
On Wednesday, August 23 – between noon and 1:00 PM YOUR TIME –
e-mail a message to Oprah, letting her know that she needs to do a show about aphasia. Below you will find a sample letter. Feel free to copy the sample letter and e-mail it or write to Oprah about your own story – or why you feel she should do a show about aphasia. The important thing is that you SEND A MESSAGE.
You can ALSO send a message to Oprah’s magazine – letting her know that she should have a story about aphasia written there.
If you do not use e-mail – send a message in the mail – have it post marked by August 24, 2006. If writing is difficult, send a videotape or DVD with your message. You can send letters and video in the mail to:
1058 West Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607-2151
We will send you reminders as the date approaches. Share this information with people in your aphasia group, family members, colleagues and friends. As a group – we CAN make this happen!
Linda Carey M.A., CCC-SLP, S-LP(C)
InteRACT Program Director
5599 Fenwick St.
Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Cheryl A. Paul, M.S., CCC-SLP
Clinical Instructor in Speech Language Pathology
University of South Florida – PCD 1017
4202 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33620
Imagine that you wake up one morning unable to speak, read, write, or understand others. Welcome to the world of aphasia.
Aphasia is a communication disorder caused by damage to the language areas of the brain. It is most often caused by stroke, but can be caused by other diseases or brain injuries. Did you know that aphasia is more prevalent than Parkinson’s disease? Over 1 million Americans (1:250 people) suffer from aphasia. Aphasia can happen to anyone, at any time, or any age. People with aphasia often lose jobs, friends, and family roles. But aphasia does not affect a person’s personality or intelligence, so they still have the desire to do the same things they did before.
A significant problem for people with aphasia is poor public awareness of the condition. Most people are not even familiar with aphasia because people who live with it have difficulty advocating for themselves. Their family members may be too embarrassed or frustrated to talk about it with people who do not understand.
We would love to see you do a show about aphasia. You can find out more information about aphasia at www.aphasia.org.