National Aphasia Association, Inc.
June 23, 2011
The National Aphasia Association was created in direct response to a great need to speak for a group of individuals who, literally, cannot speak at all for themselves or cannot effectively get their message out or access others in regard to a critical need for support. Persons with aphasia have experienced throughout their "pre-Aphasia" life the ability to communicate normally - to sit around the family table and tell stories, to read to their children, to give speeches or lectures, to order at a drive-through, to verbally express their affection for someone, to read a book or write a letter. Then, usually with a swift "brain attack" those taken-for-granted abilities are taken away or decreased significantly. The NAA was organized to provide advocacy with governmental agencies, healthcare providers, and other influential entities. We wanted to educate the public in general about aphasia and to let persons with aphasia and their families and friends have easy access to educational materials, provider lists, recommendations for improving communication, and ways they could also help each other. Though a small organization, it has touched the lives of thousands of people with aphasia, their families and healthcare professionals. With a meager budget and a lot of determination, a small group of dedicated advocates started an organization which has been amazingly effective in getting "the words" out about the dilemma and the needs of those lacking words to express it themselves. Funds have been raised, educational materials have been developed, easily accessed volunteer professionals have been made available for contact, and community groups have been organized for enhancing communication skills and supporting families. There is much work to be done but the story of NAA is a true wonder and deserves to be told.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the community aphasia group I helped organize initially and, more recently, in the conversation group started as an outgrowth of that at a local hearing and speech center.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Volunteer & I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and served as one of the initial regional representatives for contact to access educational and referral information.