Conduction Aphasia kept Lisa's mother from wanting to visit her friends

Conduction aphasia kept Lisa’s mother from singing in her church choir or wanting to spend time with friends. She was too embarrassed by her speech and didn’t know what to do. After four weeks of intensive aphasia therapy, Lisa’s mom learned that there were others with aphasia. She gained confidence to speak to strangers and to go back home and see her friends again.

So we found out about this place, one of the really young ladies who worked in the speech rehab center in Mobile suggested this. From somewhere else that she had worked, they had sent patients here. And so we called and found out that it was intensive therapy program and she would be with other people dealing with the same issues, so we decided to try it. And decided the four week program might work for us, and we’ve been very, very pleased.

My mom was terrified. She did not want to come because after her one hour of speech therapy she was exhausted. She didn’t feel like doing anything for a couple hours. But it hasn’t been like that here, she’s worked with people that help her move her mouth and watch her mouth, and work on words. But then she transitions to someone who works on the computer with her. And then part of the day, the big event of the day is they order their meals. And talking to other patients that are in the same situation. That has encouraged her to talk more, she feels like she’s in a real good situation compared to some of these other people because physically she’s doing really well and there’s so many things she can do.

One problem we had was that she didn’t really realize that her words were not working right. I did understand so much of what she wanted because we were in a controlled setting. You know, we’re in the kitchen where we’re doing a particular thing and I kinda knew what she was talking about! She was showing me a vegetable and we were talking about cooking. We were communicating. And she didn’t realize that most of the words she was using were not correct. And then when she got here and she was hearing other people and seeing that they thought they were saying it correctly, she came home and she said “They just think this” and I said “You just say this!” And she was somewhat shocked that she was making a lot of mistakes. And here, they do correct her, they show here when she’s using a word wrong. And I do that to an extent, but you know we want to have a happy life too. I want her to keep trying to talk. So if we are understanding each other and we are having a fun time, I don’t always correct her and stop her.

So here, she’s learning to gesture much much better than she was. She’s learning to kinda zero in on a subject, one particular topic so we can start there and then with the gestures it’s so much easier to understand. The other thing is, they gave her a notepad and she’s writing words. And she’s doing really well with at least the first three letters and sometimes the entire word! Even if it’s not correct, if you glance it, it may look correct. The taller letters are tall, the shorter letters are short. And that helps us get on the right track to figure out the words that she needs to use.

So you think when she goes back home next week that she may be more willing to be outgoing and do some of these things she hasn’t done?

I hope so, I hope so. She didn’t want to see her friends. She didn’t want her friends to see her. She wanted to see them, but she didn’t want them to see her. So right before we left we had three of her friends over. We had a tea party, fixed it up, left her in the room with them and they laughed and they knew what she was sayin’. They knew her! They understood her stories, they knew her. And they had a great time talking. But she still didn’t want to see anybody else.

But since she’s been here and she’s been trying to talk to waitresses. They suggested, let her order her own food and things like that. So she’s been reaching out to people and talking more to strangers. And she said when she gets back, they’re having a Sunday school brunch next month, she wants to go to that. She wants to invite a larger group of friends over. So I feel like she’s ready to take that step now, and I think that’s wonderful. And I think part of it might just be seeing that there’s other people struggling. Her life isn’t so bad, she can do this!