The Activity Center offers a variety of programs—all designed to promote long-term recovery, and participation in everyday life activities. Activities are facilitated by certified speech-language pathologists and/or trained volunteers. To determine group placement, interested individuals may be asked to participate in a brief interview and to provide a recent speech-language evaluation report and /or have their physician or speech-language pathologist contact the Aphasia Center. In some cases additional assessment may be needed to determine placement.
Current programs include:
Voices of MossRehab Aphasia Center (VOMAC)
Formed in 1996, the Voices of MossRehab Aphasia Center (VOMAC) has been the driving force behind the Aphasia Activity Center. Comprised of people with aphasia, their family members and friends, concerned volunteers and professionals—VOMAC advances the goal of helping those with aphasia lead more productive, fulfilling lives. The group sponsors community education programs to promote an awareness and understanding of aphasia and participates in fund-raising efforts to support the Center’s programs. Volunteers may also assist center staff in running activities.
“Without this place I have nowhere to go.”
Constance Sheerr Kittner Conversation Cafes
Many people with aphasia have said that it is difficult to stay connected with family and friends because it hard to communicate. In our fast-paced society, people don’t usually have the patience to wait while a person with aphasia finds the words he or she needs. In our Constance Sheerr Kittner Conversation Cafes, members have the opportunity to have their voices heard in a supportive environment. Adult conversation and social interaction are encourage, with all group members engaging in the use of successful communication strategies. Members share “recipes for success” for coping with aphasia and enjoying life. Connie’s Cafes generally run for 10 weeks each (note: the summer session may be shorter) and are offered four times each year (winter, spring, summer and fall semesters). All groups are held at our Elkins Park location. Group placement is determined by a speech language pathologist, based on the individual’s skills.
Talking Book Club
Many people with aphasia find that their ability to read has been affected by their strokes. The Talking Book Club was organized for those who miss the pleasure of reading and discussing books that others are talking about. Our “Talking Book Club” members listen to books on tape while following along in the corresponding printed book. The club meets weekly to discuss the readings and, as in other book clubs, to socialize. Selected Samples of Book Club selections include:
- “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
- “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara
- “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd
- “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown
- “The Broker” by John Grisham
- “A Reporter’s Life” by Walter Cronkite
- “It’s Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life” by Lance Armstrong
- “The Greatest Generation Speaks” by Tom Brokaw
“All my friends left me but one. Most people don’t know how to deal with it.”
Computer technology has the potential to reduce barriers to communication, improve skills and quickly connect people to information and social networks. In our computer lab, individuals who have completed speech therapy and have targeted self-study goals work to use specialized aphasia software (e.g., MossTalkWords® and SentenceShaper™) and refresh their computer, tablet or smartphone skills so they can email with family and friends, or connect through social media. These efforts are aimed at helping people with aphasia to maximize their communication skills and social interaction and to promote self-learning.
Reta’s Games Groups
Our Activity Center offers weekly cards and board games group that allow people to use their communication skills while having fun. Our volunteer leader(s) will help you get started or partner with you until you catch on to the game.
Most people have never heard of the word “aphasia” until someone they know is touched by this disorder. As a result, people with aphasia, their families and friends have a lot of questions about living with this condition. The MossRehab Aphasia Center organizes quarterly education programs on various topics. Examples of recent programs include:
- A Second Chance at Second Nature: Recovering One’s Language from Stroke & Aphasia – a presentation by Thomas G. Broussard, PhD.
- Reading and Spelling for People with Aphasia: What Can Happen and How Can We Help? – a workshop led by Sharon M. Antonucci, PhD, CCC-SLP, focusing on reasons that reading and spelling can be hard for people with aphasia, treatments that have been show to help, and ways that people with aphasia can practice reading and spelling at home.
- Aphasia the Movie—a screening of the award winning film starring Carl McIntyre, a professional actor who lives with aphasia as a result of a stroke at age 44. Included is a presentation by Carl and members of the film production crew.
- By His Side Life and Love After Stroke—a presentation by Eileen Steets Quann who wrote about her husband John’s stroke. Eileen discussed the strategies she and John identified to help supplement the speech therapy he was receiving. Living Beyond Limits—a workshop led by Julie Goldstein focusing on coping strategies for patients with aphasia and their family members.
- Aphasia Friendly Resources—a workshop led by Roberta Brooks, MA, CCC, focusing on high-tech, low tech and no tech resources to assist with communication efforts. Part of this presentation included an extensive list of websites where individuals could practice their skills at home.
“This is a place to come and tell your story when you’ve lost your voice.”
To learn more about any of the programs of the MossRehab Aphasia Activity Center, please call 1-800-CALL MOSS or contact Nikki Benson-Watlington, Administrative Coordinator, MossRehab Aphasia Center at (215) 663-6344; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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