Advocacy: Educating Communities about Aphasia For nearly 10 years, students and clients at Western Michigan University (WMU) have been carrying out aphasia community education projects each June as part of Aphasia Awareness Month (designated by the National Aphasia Association). Each year graduate students in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology apply for the Kensel ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2002
Advocacy: Educating Communities about Aphasia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melanie Bremer
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Jolena Pighetti
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Sarah Orjada
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Article Information
Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Advocacy
Article   |   December 01, 2002
Advocacy: Educating Communities about Aphasia
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, December 2002, Vol. 12, 38-39. doi:10.1044/nnsld12.4.38
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, December 2002, Vol. 12, 38-39. doi:10.1044/nnsld12.4.38
For nearly 10 years, students and clients at Western Michigan University (WMU) have been carrying out aphasia community education projects each June as part of Aphasia Awareness Month (designated by the National Aphasia Association).
Each year graduate students in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology apply for the Kensel Giddings Advancement of Aphasia Awareness and Education Award. Student teams develop a service learning experience in which both they and members of the community can learn about aphasia and its effects on families. Faculty members determine the winning project.
The award was donated by Adele Giddings following the death of her husband of more than 50 years. Mr. Giddings was a general contractor and volunteer in his lifelong community of Paw Paw, MI. A stroke in 1984 left Mr. Giddings with right sided paralysis and severe nonfluent aphasia. Medical professionals told Mr. Giddings and his wife that he would never communicate again and should be institutionalized. The Giddings’ sought assistance for his communication in formal speech and language treatment and an aphasia group at the WMU Charles Van Riper Language-Speech-Hearing Clinic (C VRLSHC), in a community stroke support group, and in artistic expression. Through the assistance Mr. Giddings received in the 4 years after his stroke, he regained a vitality and energy that allowed him to be active in his family and community despite. Mr. Giddings relearned how to draw and began to use his rekindled drawing skills and gestures to communicate with others. He exhibited his pencil sketches of Michigan wildlife and artifacts from World War II until 1990 when he suffered another stroke.
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