Declared incompetent due to aphasia, everything was a battle to get support

Denise is someone you may not recognize as having aphasia, but was told after her stroke that she was incompetent. Denise describes feeling capable but being told by experts that she couldn’t do anything herself. She had to search and explore her treatment options herself, which eventually lead her to The Aphasia Center.

During her 4 week of intensive therapy, Denise initially stayed with a family member at the apartments. Once on her own, Denise went to restaurants and shopping alone, to her surprise. She started reading magazines again, and hadn’t read for pleasure in over two years since her stroke.

The Aphasia Center also gave her new strategies to help her. This experience gave her the confidence and support she needed to keep moving forward to her dream of returning to work.

Trying many different ways of trying to get better. I’ve tried different types of therapy and improved but I think there’s still much more I can do. So two evaluations, at the beginning my speeches was much more stuttered or couldn’t recall words as quickly. Went through their evaluation tests, all those neurological, psyches, and tests they gave me and I was I was diagnosed or labeled as incompetent and I’m not able to handle my own finances, and handle my own services. My husband has to be my rep payee. He needs to supervise my my life right now, which is kind of discouraging, because I feel like I can do a lot more on my own.

But here I have these professionals saying that “No you’re not, you’re not able to do this stuff. You can’t do this”, so you know it’s defeating. So if you don’t have the confidence you, don’t have the stamina to keep going. Why bother, you’ve got these doctors and professionals telling you that this is all you have.

I think in my mind I think I’m much better than what they’re saying. I just have to prove it now. But it’s hard, it’s a lot of work and you don’t have a lot of people out there, professionals that are backing me up. I have to keep fighting all these battles, because everything is a battle myself. I have to go struggle, I have to go find it myself. Finding therapy here, I had to find that myself. Nobody else said “Oh did you check this out”. I had to find that going finding different types of types of therapy. Find a different types of school, finding exercises to do. Just you know, just to find support.

I started staying here in a condo with my aunt for a couple of weeks, and then she went home. I’ve stayed in a condo by myself. I’ve gone to restaurant all by myself. I ordered my own food. I’ve been able to pay my own bill. Being able to write the tips and pay, so that’s a major accomplishment by myself.

I also was able to get a magazine, and look through a magazine, and then read a couple of articles. Very short articles, but I was able to read them all by myself. And I don’t think I’ve done that in over two years. So that’s, that was a major accomplishment because it was reading for pleasure. Everything else has been because I have to read this because it’s important. I would say this is the first time I was able to read a magazine for the pleasure. And it was that was a major accomplishment for me.

I would definitely encourage people to do this, because it not only does it give me some new strategies to help, over the edge, over the hump on that right now. But it also gives me the confidence to that I can do this. I mean being against all these barriers and all these people saying you can. all this is where you’re at. They actually feel like, I can do this, I will be going back to work. I may not be able to go back to work full time right now, but I’m ready to work for the next step to finish, stop my classes at Rhode Island College, do this volunteer program at Rhode Island Hospital. And eventually within the next year I’d like to be able to give you a phone call and say “Hey, guess what I’ve got a part-time job”.

I think listen to us what we’re saying. Be patient, and if you have the opportunity to go here, please do it, because there’s a lot of strategies and support, both the caregivers and for people with aphasia, that you may not have the time or the knowledge to do. A way from home, here you have the opportunity to just focus on this and do this, and that’s that’s a lot of, it’s a lot of work to just focus on this. And what if you could just focus on just this for a little while. I think that that’s a major accomplishment to (achieve).