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Groups for Aphasia: Support through Real World Communication

Dr. Mona Greenfield and Ellayne Ganzfried - September 13, 2017 11:19 AM

The person with aphasia (PWA) often experiences social isolation and difficulty communicating in the larger community. Individual speech-language-cognitive therapy provides important communication training between patient and clinician. However, groups offer the opportunity to practice these skills in a therapeutic community with other group participants. Groups provide a safe and supportive environment for PWA to engage in discussion and express feelings in a setting where others can relate to their experiences. Through this process, PWA can increase their confidence about communicating in the real world and yet receive the necessary therapeutic intervention to facilitate optimal communication. Groups are an important component of the recovery process and promote continued improvement of skills.

At Metropolitan Communication Associates, we schedule a variety of group experiences for our participants.  Current events, music, reminiscence, conversation,literature, cognitive,  relaxation and support groups are some of the offerings. We all enjoy communicating about news, music, travel and to reminisce about past events.  

PWA can also share in discussion about these themes. Clinicians provide a supportive environment for participants who can feel empowered by listening to music and discussing the music or singer/composer, sharing knowledge and feelings about news events, reading plays and discussing the dialogue and group interaction on many diverse and interesting topics.  Participants practice asking and answering questions, reading, saying numeric information, producing multisyllabic words, stating opinions and lots more in a naturalistic discussion style setting. They often provide encouragement and support for each other which creates bonds between the participants. Groups are fun and there is always lots of laughter and good feelings about oneself.  

Dr. Mona Greenfield is a speech-language pathologist and clinical social worker. She has taught in many graduate programs in speech-language pathology, including NYU. For the past 13 years, she has blended her training in speech-language pathology and social work by founding and directing the Metropolitan Communication Associates and in her private practice.

Ellayne Ganzfried is a speech-language pathologist and the former Executive Director of the National Aphasia Association. She is a Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Ellayne has created and managed several speech, hearing and rehabilitation programs in New York and Massachusetts.

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