Raising Aphasia Awareness Is All About the Doing!

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”

“Each person must live their life as a role model for others.”

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

“We still, today, have a long way to go and we have to continue our work.”

Aphasia Nation Educational Committee Members

Aphasia Nation members are doers. They are happy to share their experience-dependent activities that induced neuroplasticity and their ensuing recovery. Those are the people we need and usually find by seeing the evidence of their aphasia awareness work in progress.

The members of Aphasia Nation initially share their stroke/aphasia story through their family, friends, and neighbors, and then to local businesses and community organizations. The next phase is reaching beyond that and into the states, regions, national, and international organizations beyond the aphasia world to help them understand why it is so important to know about stroke/aphasia and plasticity.

There are many Aphasia Nation members who have already taken these steps and more, to help educate the public about aphasia. The goal of Aphasia Nation is to grow to scale in terms of educating millions and millions about stroke AND aphasia.

Understanding just a little bit about how the brain works, helps you understand a lot about how learning works. Learning about aphasia helps provide the keyhole to learning about plasticity and the foundation of all learning.

Aphasia Nation Educational Committee Activities 

The activities depend on lots of things including whether it is easy with little resources or harder with more resources. 

The key to all of this is; only do what you yourself can do. 

And then, yes, the day will come when we become a self-directed team of committed doers who are banded together towards a greater goal.

Examples of aphasia awareness activities:

Phase One

  1. Aphasia Booth in the Neighborhood
  2. Aphasia Tables at various retail facilities (i.e., Staples)
  3. Aphasia Car Magnets
  4. Use or donate Aphasia Illuminated Note Cards
  5. Police Department Aphasia Training
  6. Aphasia Rocks
  7. Aphasia ID Cards 
  8. “Aphasia” car registration
  9. Articles for the local newspaper
  10. Seniors Citizens (AARP, People Plus, Age Friendly committees, Senior Plus)
  11. Aphasia Open Air Gazebo Presentations
  12. Donate Aphasia books (i.e., Stroke Diary series, The ABCs of Aphasia, A Stroke Primer and others) to the local town library.
  13. Much more to add!

Aphasia Booth in the Neighborhood

After COVID, I put out a “booth” on my lawn with  aphasia materials as I talked with the walkers, who always like to talk too! They learning a lot about stroke/aphasia!

Aphasia Table at Staples

Many retail facilities offer any number of community educational opportunities. This Staples (before COVID) allowed me to have a table for a day. I greeted over 500 customers that day and gave each of them an Aphasia Awareness Card.

Aphasia Car Magnets

I bought several Aphasia car magnets and put them on my rear bumper. As people walked by, they would often ask, “What is Aphasia?” 

Use or donate Aphasia Illuminated Note Cards

I made up note cards about images from my Stroke Diary and would sell or donate the cards to many aphasia groups,  speech therapists, schools, and  hospitals.  

Police Department Aphasia Training

Police Department members need to learn about aphasia and understand how important it is to know what people with aphasia look like and sound like before assuming we are under the influence.

Aphasia Rocks!

The President of Just A.S.K, Rhode Island is using painted rocks as one more way to educate people beyond preaching to the choir! My grandkids have been painting aphasia rocks during the summer!

Aphasia ID Cards

Many organizations provide Aphasia IDs cards on their website. The National Aphasia Association has a link to one that can be used at any number of educational “aphasia awareness” events. 

Aphasia Car Registration

I just got my “APHASIA” tag when we moved back … but I have been asking friends of mine with aphasia if other states could get their own “APHASIA” tag too! You get lots of people staring, trying to figure out this word “aphasia” is!

Local Newspaper Articles

The local newspaper sent a journalist to write a story about aphasia awareness and Aphasia Awareness Month, June 2021 covering three towns’ open air gazebos presentations.

Senior Citizens

People Plus Health Expo presentation to over 350 attendees and 40 (virtual) booths including Aphasia Awareness for All.                      

Aphasia Open Air Gazebo Presentations 

Three towns hosted Open Air presentations (during COVID restrictions) with stroke/aphasia materials to provide to the public who had an interest in stroke and learned about aphasia as a result.

Donate Aphasia Books to the Local Library written by people with aphasia.

Stroke Diary series about stroke and aphasia

Phase Two

  1. Meet Hospital executives, doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers about aphasia.
  2. Donate Aphasia books (i.e., Stroke Diary series, The ABCs of Aphasia, A Stroke Primer, Finding My Words, The Amazing Liz, and others) to the local hospital’s President, staff, doctors, nurses and clinicians including speech therapists.
  3. Purchase and donate Aphasia logo T-shirts.
  4. Training with First Responders, police, fire, EMS.
  5. Donate Aphasia books (i.e., The ABCs of Aphasia, A Stroke Primer, Finding My Words, The Amazing Liz, and others) at local “Little Free Libraries” in your neighborhood.
  6. Meet/join/speak with the state Brain Injury community (stroke, brain tumors, Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and other local, region and state).
  7. Meet/speak with other acquired brain injury groups in your area/state (Aneurysm, TBI)
  8. Meet with executives/staff/teachers at high schools (various majors), colleges, and universities (undergrad and grad) to present about aphasia and plasticity.
  9. Present at local organizations (veterans’ groups, Vietnam Vets, Navy League,  Rotary, etc.)
  10. Present at local/regional/national senior citizens organizations (AARP, People Plus, Lifelong Learning/Osher, etc.)
  11. Much more to add!

Donate Aphasia books at “Little Free Libraries”

Donate Aphasia books (i.e., The ABCs of Aphasia, A Stroke Primer and others) at local “Little Free Libraries” in your neighborhood.

Meet Hospital executives, doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers about aphasia.

Met with the hospital staff, sharing & explaining his story and recovery for others to learn about aphasia, recovery and plasticity. Picture of Jerry Wald, Let’s Talk Stroke, Strive for Greatness and hospital staff with Aphasia Car magnet and The ABCs of Aphasia: A Stroke Primer. 

Phase Three

  1. Meet with local, state and federal politicians about aphasia and the need for aphasia awareness and plasticity in the country.
  2. Meet with the local town manager, town council, police chief, fire chief, EMS chief and discuss aphasia and the need for more information about aphasia for the wider public.
  3. Visit, meet and be interviewed by the local staff and editors of the local newspaper, community newspapers, public TV and TV news shows.
  4. Meet the local Chambers of Commerce, local business development groups and the businesses themselves about the aphasia and the need for the business community to know more about any acquired brain injury including stroke and aphasia.  
  5. Meet with the state’s Governor/staff and discuss aphasia and ask for an Aphasia Awareness Month proclamation.
  6. Meet with business, healthcare organizations and others with a vested interest in brain injuries who might be interested in developed TV PSAs about aphasia.
  7. Meet with lawyers who might have a vested interest in brain injuries (lawyers’ experts in disabilities law) who might be interested in developed TV PSAs about aphasia.
  8. Much more to add!

Phase Four

  1. Contact the national healthcare organizations; AHA, ASA, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association National Nurse Association and many, many more about the need to educate the healthcare world about aphasia from the perspective of a stroke survivor and aphasia.
  2. Contact with the national insurance organizations; USAA, AAA, MEMIC, etc.
  3. Contact big business with a vested interest in language, health, stroke and aphasia including Planet Word, Scrabble, Rosetta Stone, Babel, Darn Tough Socks, Vermont, etc.
  4. Much more to add!