Friday, July 18, 2014

Aphasia Institute Connections A World of Possibilities - Learn, Work, Share -

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Aphasia Institute Connections
A World of Possibilities
- Learn, Work, Share -

Greetings from the all of us at the Aphasia Institute.
Gerry Cormier 
Many of us in the Aphasia Institute (AI) community never had the pleasure of meeting Gerry. He was a true optimist who embraced life despite his aphasia. Some of you may recognize him as the individual around who the "Gerry Series" was created; a key teaching tool which quite likely made Gerry the most famous person with aphasia in the world. Although the video footage is dated and grainy, its message is clear in powerfully demonstrating the difference the right communication tools make to having a successful conversation.
We are saddened to let you know that Gerry passed away in April at the age of 86.  We were moved that over a dozen of his loved ones walked in his memory at our annual Walk, Talk 'n Roll fundraiser last month. We're honoured that Gerry was a valued member of our community. He will be forever remembered for his resilient, hopeful spirit and his significant contribution to improving the lives of people living with aphasia.
In this issue of Aphasia Institute Connections you'll find updates on resources, training, knowledge transfer and direct programming.

We hope that you will share Aphasia Institute Connections with your colleagues, to help benefit their work and outcomes for their clients. 

Thank you for your time. We look forward to connecting with you.


Marisca Baldwin
Education and Learning Coordinator 
Knowledge Exchange
 Knowledge Exchange DayFour Day SCA™Training Workshop in Northern Alberta, Canada   
This past May, we travelled to the city of Edmonton, Alberta to train 22 Speech Language Pathologists who live and work in the North Zone of the province. The four-day training was funded by Alberta Health Services
The majority of participants drove up to five hours to attend the workshop with some even flying in from more remote regions.
These SLPs face challenges very different to clinicians living in big city centres:
  • Approximately 80% describe their case-loads as "birth to death"
  • They see patients for a very limited amount of time
  • Family access is difficult due to remote areas and large distances
  • Isolation - most are the only SLP in the region
  • Insecurity around counselling - many felt ill-equipped to handle difficult conversations
  • Distance - it is not uncommon to drive 1.5 hours to see one client
The trainees were familiar with the 'language' of Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA™) but it was new learning for them to work 
with adults with aphasia. They were eager for exposure and input, and for gaining knowledge and experience. Trainees were keen to pass on their acquired expertise to colleagues in other healthcare professions. In fact, one condition of attending the workshop is to schedule two SCA™ training sessions for colleagues in the next year.
If your organization would like find out more about hosting an AI training workshop in your area, please contact Marisca Baldwin, Education and Learning Coordinator.
 Ontario Aphasia Centres Interest Group Knowledge Exchange Day  
The Ontario Aphasia Centres Interest Group (OACIG) is made up of program staff from aphasia groups and centres in the province of Ontario. Once a year, clinicians working in the field of aphasia spend the day together, sharing insights and experiences.  Aphasia Institute hosted the annual event this past June. It was an informative day as over 50 participants learned about new initiatives and pilot programs at different centres in the province and got an opportunity to network and connect. 
Professional Development Training
March Training Institute 2012The Aphasia Institute training workshops teach Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA) and how to apply these techniques to clinical situations such as assessment, counselling, group therapy and working with clients and their communication partners. 
ASHA Insignia 
The Aphasia Institute is an accredited Continuing Education Provider by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Professional Training Institute: 27 October - 4 November
Now accepting registrations for full and half-day workshops.
C2: Going Beyond Transaction: 
Life Story Book, SCA
and Aphasia 
Piloted in March, this is a day and a half workshop, co-taught by Speech-Language Pathologist and Social Work Instructors. You will learn to work with clients to co-construct their own personal narratives ... their past, present and future. You will learn how to use a Life Story Book template - developed and researched at the Aphasia Institute - to its maximum potential. On Day Two, you will have the opportunity to practice with a group of people with aphasia.

"After learning about the "Your Life" tool at an education session in March 2014, our Aphasia Program incorporated it into our assessment visits with our clients. We use it as a tool to learn about our clients' lives and  to revisit the story of their stroke. I find it is a wonderful way to establish rapport. But I also feel like I have a good idea about their communication skills by the end of our visit, communicating about the things that are important to them. I love that it is about their life and not just their aphasia." 
SLP from the Waterloo-Wellington Regional Aphasia Program (WWRAP)
Complete details on training workshops and schedules are available in the  
To register, contact Marisca Baldwin, Education & Learning Coordinator

**NEW** Aphasia Institute Knowledge Exchange Speakers Series
You will soon be able to register for a series of webinars, featuring experts in the field of aphasia presenting on a variety of topics related to aphasia. To be launched in the Fall. Stay tuned!

Resources Updates
**Coming Soon** 
Talking About Your Hearing
If you are an audiologist or hearing healthcare practitioner this resource will help you communicate more effectively with patients who have aphasia or other communication challenges. Stay tuned ...

In June 2013, Judith Leitner, co-founder of the Toronto Heschel School, art educator and photographer, approached AI to volunteer her time and expertise to create and facilitate a self-portrait photography program.
As the pilot and intermediate workshops progressed, we witnessed a small group of clients blossom as photographers. Their self-portraits became powerful vehicles for self-expression as they drew on their knowledge, skills and depths of courage to reveal themselves and tell their stories.
It also became clear that the impact on our clients went beyond self-portrait photography; they were overcoming the language challenges of aphasia, education, and self-discovery through art, and that their work needed to be shared in a professional forum. MaRS, a landmark of innovation in down-town Toronto, embraced Judith's vision and agreed to host the exhibit My Voice, Through My Lens in early June.
The exhibit took place during Aphasia Awareness week, the first week in June.  The artists interacted with anyone and everyone who passed through MaRS, including professionals in healthcare, the sciences, education and people on their way to appointments at nearby hospitals. This interaction between the artists and virtual strangers regarding aphasia and stroke, alongside the work of the Aphasia Institute and self-portrait photographs, elicited an extraordinary response.
One of the artists, standing beside his photograph and an infographic.
"Grease" The Musical
After months of dedicated rehearsals, members of the Aphasia Institute "Spotlight" musical drama group gave an electrifying performance of "Grease the Musical" to a packed and enthusiastic audience at the Al Green Theatrein down-town Toronto in June. The adapted script, written by SLP, Eavan Sinden (passionate visionary and director!) enabled each cast member to deliver a heart-warming performance regardless of the type or severity of their aphasia. During the months of  
"Grease the Musical" dress rehearsal before the big performance.
rehearsals and preparation leading up to the big day, members who had been known to be shy and introverted, began to overcome the challenges of aphasia by discovering new ways to express themselves dramatically and musically. By performance day, they went on to deliver inspiring and moving performances that impressed everyone in attendance. This entertaining community event raised over $1,600 towards the community "I Care" campaign which helps fund initiatives such as the purchase of iPads for the Conversation tables.
 Aphasia Institute wins the award for most participants at the Toronto Challenge
On June 8, over 150 clients, family, friends, volunteers and staff participated at our signature fundraising event, the "Walk, Talk 'n Roll". For a second year in a row, our agency won theToronto Challenge award for most participants. Thanks to such overwhelming support and community spirit, over $70,000 has been raised! 

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