ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (Presented “Stroke, The Ultimate Pink Slip…or is it?” as the Guest Speaker at the Pinning Ceremony, University of St. Augustine (USA), Occupational Therapy Program, The Riverview Club, and my host Mary Shotwell, Ph.D., OT/L, FAOTA, Program Director on Friday, December 6, 2019 at noon.)
I presented “Stroke, The Ultimate Pink Slip…or is it?” to 240 students, staff, family and friends. All of the guests were provided with their own tailored Aphasia ID card from the National Aphasia Association (NAA). The presentation included a message regarding the paucity of the wider public to learn about aphasia more than the 8.8% of the country’s population who are “aphasia aware”.
It was a rare opportunity to have such a large audience listening to a person with aphasia, who had lost his (that is me!) language and could not read, write or speak well. Yet able to regain his language and describe the process by which his persistent therapeutic activities (years of keeping a diary, recordings his voice, and hundreds of pictures of the world around him) inducing neuroplasticity that led to the learning and regaining his language.
It is often a given that a person with a stroke often lose their job and then have a hard time reacquiring their old job or a new job with the same previous pay and benefits. It is very hard to create that new employment opportunity for people with stroke and aphasia but it is no longer the ultimate pink slip that I thought was always the case, witness my experience as a writer and public speaker since my stroke.
Thank you University of St. Augustine (USA) and congratulations to the OT students…it was a wonderful Aphasia Awareness Day!