Intensive therapy helped Cecile's daughter become herself again

Cecile talks about her daughter, Marie's, journey from "someone she doesn't recognize" to becoming more aware and more like herself before the injury. While they live in France, they took advantage of intensive aphasia therapy in the U.S.

I’m really pleased. I didn’t know what I was jumping into with this aphasia program. My goal, of course, is for her to speak, but time goes by and we realize that it’s going to be a long process, and at one point maybe it’s not going to evolve at all. I kind of live on a day by day basis. I have a lot of trouble with setting goals. The way she speaks and she retrieves words is fantastic because I can see her being independent.

My goal coming here was also to understand what she had. It is really hard to understand what this is all about, aphasia. We spoke with the doctors, and Marie was on a very good slope. That was a time where I had trouble with deciding what she had to do, and with insurance, she is at the end of therapies right now and she is going to have to be released. We went to see the doctor and the doctor said “no way”, we have other things for her. And that is how they came up with the aphasia center. I was very happy with that.

I think the main thing is that she’s back on earth, so those past 2 months have been amazing for her. I think aphasia, word retrieving and thinking, have been helping her to realize in what position she is. For me, that is the most important thing. When you have a person in front of you that you don’t recognize, its very very painful. So, that’s the main thing. Physically, her body is back to almost what it was. Muscle-wise she is stronger, so that is very very nice also. Her pants fit, she has a shape again. When she arrived she was still very very thin, she looked sick and now she looks quite healthy. So these are the two things that her friends are going to see when she goes back, they’re not going to recognize her.

Somebody that has aphasia should come here and practice because this is of course very tiring, but the environment is a good rest for the caregivers. There’s the beach, there’s the weather, and then for the patients the atmosphere is perfect. They have to go back to who they are, and that is the first step. Realize what they have and why they have it. At the hospital, nobody talks about it. We don’t know what they have.

Yeah, she has aphasia, if you’re curious you look on the internet and understand what it is. Here, in intensive programs it’s very important that they themselves realize that it is possible to eventually communicate. Even if they don’t speak, they can at least learn how to communicate. So that’s very important, It’s a must.