Photosynthesis and Plasticity: The Magic of Creating Something from Nothing.

More sunlight creates more photosynthesis; less sunlight, less photosynthesis. In much the same way, more thought and cognitive activities create more plasticity; less thought and cognitive activities, less plasticity and learning. That is the direct link between cognitive activities, plasticity and rewiring the brain for people with aphasia.


Enriched Therapy: The Next Stage in Speech Language Therapy and Aphasia Recovery

All speech therapy must establish an enriched environment using those conventional activities to help create the habits that are needed for the long-term application of those very same activities as the way to improve them.

Reading the Landscape of Aphasia (loss of language), Part 1, Aphasia Awareness

This is my understanding of speech therapy and recovery based on the last several years of my work written from the perspective of a person with aphasia (PWA). I have been using my experiences as tools to help other people with aphasia as well as speech therapists and allied clinicians.

Aphasia Nation, Inc., focused on educating the wider public about aphasia and plasticity.

The purpose of Aphasia Nation is to educate the wider public about aphasia and particularly the healthcare and hospital communities. About 25-40% of people with stroke acquire aphasia yet few in the public are aware about aphasia and the link to stroke.

Educating the public about neuroplasticity is the next step.

Stroke and Aphasia Recovery: Metaphors Help Us Mend using Images and Words We Know.

Through a series of useful metaphorical stories, these lessons help provide you with the knowledge needed to generate the self-directed fuel that spurs plasticity, the foundation of all learning. If you (or someone in your family) have suffered a stroke with aphasia, and want to know what it takes to repair one’s language, this book is for you!

Raising Aphasia Awareness: We Can’t Keep Preaching Just to the Choir.

The missing educational linkage between stroke and aphasia have the same siloed problem. We can’t keep preaching just to the choir. We must enlist new voices and preach to new choirs with a new message from the perspective of a person with aphasia doing the preaching.

The Process of Aphasia Recovery, The Internalization of Higher Psychological Functions.

“We call the internal reconstruction of an external operation internalization…the process of internalization consists of a series of transformations:

  1. An operation that initially represents an external activity is reconstructed and begin to occur internally (Vygotsky, 1978, pg. 56-57).”

Aphasia Recovery: Erect a Habitual Therapeutic Structure Before Conventional Therapy Ends.

SLPs must build an environment using every modality to start the ongoing stimulus that ignites the habitual and integrated process of plasticity and recovery before formal therapy ends.  

Reading the Landscape of Aphasia, from a Person with Aphasia; Part 2, Aphasia Therapy.

Enriched therapy creates more experience, more practice, more variety, and more life that provides the momentum of lifelong language recovery where every day is a session day!

The Keys to Raising Aphasia Awareness Nationwide, Part 1- Stroke Coordinators.

We need everyone on the team to make this happen, otherwise it will be a Sisyphean task, pushing the aphasia awareness rock up the mountain, only to have it roll down again tomorrow.

Thank you to all stroke coordinators for lending a hand…and a voice to those who are voiceless!

The Keys to Raising Aphasia Awareness Nationwide, Part 2 – People with Aphasia (PWA).

Stroke center hospitals are designed to stabilize stroke patients and prepare them physically for the next step towards recovery. But those hospitals don’t think they need to educate the public about aphasia because they don’t have to.

The rehab facilities, not the hospitals, are the ones with the responsibility to care for the communication needs of people with aphasia. Both are very good at what they do, but a gap exists between the two siloed entities in the care continuum.

Reading the Landscape of Aphasia from a Person with Aphasia: Part 3, Aphasia Recovery, 9/20/2022.

This describes the changing roles of speech therapists and people with aphasia (PWA) that share in an increasingly self-directed approach to adult learning, lifelong learning, and long-term personal speech therapy.

The Keys to Raising Aphasia Awareness Nationwide, Part 3 – Speech Therapists (SLP). 10/11/2022.

The problem is the missing link between the two. The dearth of information about aphasia (website, materials, education) is the connective tissue that is missing, and the speech language pathologists (SLP) are an important part of raising aphasia awareness.

Aphasia Awareness: Sweeping Cultural Change of the Healthcare Community and Aphasia (11/8/2022).

In an analogous way, culture cannot be “touched” directly.  That is not to say that culture can’t change over time or that it cannot be influenced.  But when cultural change does occur, it is not in response to a push, but a pull.


Aphasia Awareness–Fish Can’t See Water and Hospitals Can’t See Aphasia (12/6/2022).

It took me a couple of years to really see aphasia myself and began to notice that many hospitals can’t see aphasia either. Stroke centered hospitals need to educate aphasic patients and their families about aphasia while still at the hospital!


The 11 states for the hospitals in this informal study include; FL, ME, MA, VA, MO, NC, NY, TX, MN, HI, and ID. In summary, 112 hospitals (87%) provide little to no information about aphasia while 17 (13%) hospitals provide good information about aphasia in the relay race towards recovery.

Our language is acquired and organized through a complex set of sensory systems that aid in the same language acquisition process of aphasia recovery. Schuell is one of the early pioneers in the stimulation approach to aphasia rehabilitation.

His “New Look” therapy stated that “recovery follows reintegration of the remaining cortical tissue into a functioning whole” (Wepman, 1951, pg. 18).

Our updated results of aphasia info of the website of 418 stroke-centered hospitals (28 states) to date:

In summary, 386 hospitals (92%) provide little to no information about aphasia while 32 (8%) hospitals provide decent/good information about aphasia.

Sherrington coined the word “synapse” (in Greek, “to clasp”) in 1897 to describe the mechanism bridging the gap between neurons, as stated, “In view, therefore, of the probable importance physiologically of this mode of nexus between neurone and neurone it is convenient to have a term for it. The term introduced has been synapse” (Sherrington, 1906/1947, pp. 17).

As a result of his work, Penfield developed a homunculus (in Latin, ‘little man’), a model of the neural representation in proportion to the parts of the body, based on a “map” of the areas of the motor and sensory functions.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1 May 1852 – 17 October 1934) was a Spanish neuroscientist, pathologist, and histologist (study of microscopic structures of tissues) specializing in neuroanatomy and the central nervous system.

“Educating the will” is the key not just to memorize facts and acquire book knowledge, but to turn one’s knowledge “to account” and arrive at a new level of self-mastery (The Education of the Will, Jules Payot, 1907) 


Hughlings Jackson’s “words in sentences lose their individual meaning, if single words can be strictly said to have any meaning, and the whole sentence becomes a unit, not a word heap” where “speechlessness does not mean entire wordlessness” 

An engram is a theoretical element of memory etched into neurons/patterns of neurons where memories can be stored. Lashley spent years looking for the engram, tracing pathways in the brain looking for locations of specific memory traces.

Sir Henry Head learned that “behind every conscious act lie many integrations” where it is almost impossible to “unravel that vast mass of dispositions which lie normally outside the field of consciousness.”

Freud researched the anatomy of the brain, neurological deficits, aphasia, and wrote On Aphasia, A Critical Study (1891) which was his first book before he shifted to psychoanalysis, Oedipus complex, regression and Freudian slips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtnPKYPrUe4&t=2s

Paul Broca, a French physician, is best known for his research on Broca’s area, a region of the frontal lobe that is named after him. His work revealed that the brains of patients with aphasia have damage in the left frontal area of the brain. https://youtube.com/live/6XKQ8LuV6LQ

Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was a world-famous astronomer talking about the “billions and billions” of stars in the universe, the Broca’s area, Broca’s Brain and the “billions and billions” of brain cells in our head!

Donald Olding Hebb (July 22, 1904 – August 20, 1985) was a Canadian psychologist who was influential in the area of neuropsychology, where he sought to understand the function of cells (neurons) and the psychological processes of learning (Wikipedia). https://youtube.com/live/4M-5cnJLH-Q


Dr. Brenda Milner (July 15, 1918, Manchester, England). She worked with the famous memory Patient H.M. for almost five decades and is one of the Heroes of the Engram and still stands on the shoulders of other looking for the engram of memory https://youtube.com/live/4oIcFzNMDa4

Alexander Romanovich Luria (16 July 1902 – 14 August 1977) was a Soviet neuropsychologist who described the different parts of the brain, not as confined centers, but as the “essential apparatus for organizing intellectual activity as a wholehttps://youtube.com/live/dToSRFHZ0kE

Lev Vygotsky (11/5/1896 – 6/11/1934) was a Soviet psychologist best known for his work on the internalization of higher mental functions and the zone of proximal development/scaffolding where the hardest tasks can lead to the greatest gains https://youtube.com/live/u0gyR2bLDp4

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) coined the word, plasticity that converts thought and cognitive activities into new brain matter; as James said “in all education is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy” https://youtube.com/live/pO-YVdsGqNA

John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an educator and an aspiring neuroeducator who insisted that habit “is interpreted biologically” and every experience “modifies the one who” becomes a newly learned person induced by plasticity https://youtube.com/live/eJeVQBLZltc


Martha Taylor Sarno, M.A., MD (hc), CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS (b: New York, November 25, 1927) is an international authority on aphasia for over 60 years and founded the National Aphasia Association (NAA) in 1987 to raise aphasia awareness nationwide



Marian Cleeves Diamond (11/11/1926 – 7/25/2017) was an American scientist and educator and one of the founders of modern neuroscience. Her research provided the evidence that the brain changes with experience in an enriched environment https://youtube.com/live/QpPAGfSpfkQ

Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (October 10, 1861 – May 13, 1930) was a Norwegian polymath and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He gained prominence at various points in his life as an explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and as co-founder of the Fatherland League

Gerald Edelman (July 1, 1929 – May 17, 2014) was an American biologist who coined the term, Neural Darwinism, regarding his theory of neuronal group selection, natural selection, evolution and plasticity, the foundation of all learning https://youtube.com/live/AfhFgcOeBMw

Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his amazing survival of an accident on September 13, 1848, in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe.  

Turkana Boy is the name technically given to the fossil, KNM-WT 15000. He is also called Nariokotome Boy, and is a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo ergaster (meaning ‘working man’). He is also referred to as Homo erectus (meaning ‘upright man’) youth who lived 1.5 to 1.6 million years ago.


Tom Broussard: Johnny Appleseed of Aphasia Awareness-Sharing 10 Years of Learning, Recovery & a Gift for All with a renewed focus on plasticity as the basis of all learning that powers education of all kinds. 


Tom Broussard, Science & Scientists, The Brain & Plasticity and a Gift for All.

This entire series is combined into a one-page PDF with the names of each of the 24 scientists hyperlinked to each article. 

It is my gift to the aphasia community on behalf of Aphasia Nation’s annual Facebook fundraising event on my 72nd birthday, January 25, 2024.

Beyond Language Deficits: Nonlanguage Characteristics and Deficits of Aphasics, 2-13-2024

As Wepman stated so well, “A patient’s language doesn’t improve-he improves, and his language” as well as his nonlanguage deficits, “reflects it”.

Aphasia is a language disorder also with nonlanguage deficits as a result of the damaged neural capacities that affects “the patient’s total reaction pattern due to a disturbance of the integrating capacity of the cortex”