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User profile for Roberta Elman
Name: RJ Elman
Alias: Roberta Elman
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Books for Recovery
Posted at: 2021-07-23 01:00:18
If you could let me know in which community your patron lives, I will try to make some recommendations re: low cost or free aphasia groups/services.


Roberta Elman

Support group in Phoenix / Scottsdale
Posted at: 2021-07-11 00:46:31
The National Aphasia Association’s website lists aphasia treatment and support groups by state and locale. The following link should take you to the groups listed for your area:


I hope that you and your mother will receive all the support that you need.

Best, Roberta Elman

Books for Recovery
Posted at: 2021-07-05 18:40:57
It sounds as though your library patron is looking for speech-language therapy related resources that he would be able to use at home. I’m not sure how long ago he sustained his stroke, but it would be helpful for him to receive a current speech-language evaluation. At that time, he can ask the therapist to help him create a home program. Each stroke survivor with aphasia has different language strengths and weaknesses and some therapy techniques or strategies will be helpful for one person but not for another. There are unlikely to be ”off the shelf” books or materials that will be effective without the assistance of an experienced therapist to start things off.

If your patron is interested in learning about first person accounts of stroke and aphasia, or if he is interested in reading other literature, he may find that books on tape are usually much easier to follow. Depending on where he lives, there are various aphasia groups or Aphasia Centers that have started Aphasia Book Clubs. He may find participating in a book club a wonderful way to connect with other people with aphasia at the same time as he is reconnecting with literature. I am the Executive Director of the Aphasia Center of California, and our website has information about our Aphasia Book Connection (TM) program as well as examples of the materials: http://www.aphasiacenter.org

Best, Roberta Elman

Re: please help me
Posted at: 2021-07-30 21:48:14
It sounds as though you have a very complex medical condition that may not be easily identified. My recommendation would be to go to an institution that sees numerous challenging diagnostic cases. Hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN or the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio are examples although not the only options. You should get copies made of your entire medical record to bring with you so that medical tests do not need to be repeated.

Wishing you success in finding a diagnosis.

Roberta Elman

>I am 40 yrs. old and have aphasia. I have seen 3
>neurologists and spent two 3 day stays in the
>hospital. I also have numbness in my extremities,
>a burning ache across my neck, my hands and feet
>draw up ( muscle spasms), vision is blurry,
>fatigue is starting to take over now. Do you
>think its too much to ask for someone to tell me
>what’s wrong? I am still without a diagnosis, not
>working, and ready to take my old life back if
>someone would just help me. Any advise out there?

Re: No speech therapy for ten months
Posted at: 2021-07-19 21:41:40
There is definitely hope that your mother can improve her speech-language and/or communication skills with speech-language treatment. Professionals will not be able to tell you in advance the amount of improvement that your mother will be able to make, but she definitely deserves a course of speech-language treatment from a therapist who is experienced in the area of aphasia.

Wishing you and your mother the best.

Roberta J. Elman

>Hi there,
My mother had a stroke towards the end
>of august last year. initially she could not
>speak at all but later she could make a definite
>sound. i am afraid she wasn’t prescribed speech
>therapy by the doctors at that time. now she is
>able to convey most of the things by altering the
>pitch of her voice but she cannot speak definite
>words. i believe that somewhere she has accepted
>that she wont speak again. if she were to be
>given speech therapy now, will that be effective.
>as the therapy is already delayed, have we lost
>all chances or is there still hope. please note
>that my mother is in india and i have recently
>moved to philadelphia. i could avail the medical
>facilities available here and look forward to get
>quality treatment for her.

Thank you for your

Re: doctor referral
Posted at: 2021-07-28 11:56:37
Hi Jana,

I’m not sure if you’d like a referral to a medical doctor, or to a speech-language pathologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia?

The National Aphasia Association’s website: http://www.aphasia.org provides a listing of state representatives. If you click on the Florida section, you’ll find several speech-language pathologists who work in either Tampa or Clearwater. These state representatives should be able to provide you with local information about available medical and treatment resources in your area.


Roberta Elman

Re: reading
Posted at: 2021-07-21 20:21:00
Dear Caitlin,

For avid readers, losing the ability to read for pleasure is said to be one of the biggest losses that people experience with aphasia.

My colleagues and I at the Aphasia Center of California have been quite active in creating the Book Connection (TM) program. We started doing our own Aphasia Book Clubs in 1999 and developed various materials for our participants. In 2004, we received funding to replicate our programs at 4 program sites in North America. During this time, we revised our materials with input from speech-language pathologists and people with aphasia. We created the resulting Book Connection (TM) manual and materials (for purchase) so that speech-language patholgists could start aphasia book clubs in their own communities.

To date, we have created “aphasia friendly” chapter-by-chapter materials for 18 popular adult books. It might be useful for you to look at the information about the Book Connection (TM) on our website: http://www.aphasiacenter.org
You’ll see a link to the materials on the left hand margin of our home page. Even if you don’t use these materials, you will see examples of them and might be able to adapt something for your mother.

Best, Roberta Elman

Re: i need help!
Posted at: 2021-07-14 18:46:59
Dear Trudy,

As you know first hand, global aphasia can be a very confusing and frustrating disorder, both for the person living with it, as well as family members and friends. Global aphasia is diagnosed when receptive skills (understanding language) and expressive skills (speaking) are both severely impaired. As you’ve described, this means that it is very difficult for your mother to say what she wants to, or to understand fully what others are saying to her.

It might make it easier for others to think of Global aphasia as creating a language barrier, similar to what happens when two people can’t communicate well because they speak different languages. If one person is speaking English, but the other person only knows Japanese, it becomes almost impossible to communicate using language or words. In this situation, communication is much more likely to be successful when using non-language ways of communicating, by using pictures, gestures, drawing, etc. Many of these techniques/strategies are the ones we use when we travel overseas or when we communicate with someone who speaks a different language than we do.

In addition, it sounds as though your mother may have great difficulty with yes vs. no responses. This can be common with severe aphasia. An experienced speech-language pathologist may be able to find a way for her to answer questions more reliably without her using spoken words. Sometimes, pointing to a word or symbol, or using a hand gesture, or another technique, may work better. Often, people with severe aphasia, may need instruction and practice to become more accurate at using these techniques.

I’m sorry to hear that speech therapy wasn’t helpful. However, sometimes a different therapist, who has extensive experience working with people with severe aphasia, may be able to teach you, other family members, and her caretakers, some communication strategies that are more effective. You might want to check with the community group list at the National Aphasia Association website to see if there is a group in your area. That way, you could find out from local family members and therapists, which professionals are considered to be the best in your area.

I would also encourage you to see if there is a way for your mother to attend an aphasia group in your community. Groups would provide a wonderful way for her to meet other people who are living with aphasia. It is also important that she feels she is still being treated as an intelligent human being, which she is. Aphasia groups can go a long way toward helping people learn to live successfully with aphasia. And I hope that there will also be an aphasia caregiver group in your community. You also need the education and support that a caregiver group can provide.


Roberta Elman

Posted at: 2021-10-16 18:10:29
Hi Margie,

Sandy has given you the URL for the National Aphasia Assn. support groups. In addition, Northwestern University has quite a bit of information about PPA on their website at: http://www.brain.northwestern.edu/ppa/ Be sure to read their newsletters, available from a link at the bottom of the page. There also appears to be an online PPA support group through yahoo:

I hope that you and your husband will find the information and support that you need.

Best, Roberta

>After two yrs. of searching for answers to my
>Husband,s declining speech, we received the
>diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia, a form
>of dementia. He is practically mute now.I realize
>this will progress, but, doesn’t know how or when.
>Is there a support group in Charlotte, NC? I need
>to learn all I can.

Re: Aphasia Causes
Posted at: 2021-09-10 09:21:43
Dear Andy,

Problems with word finding can occur from a variety of causes and various locations in the brain. If you are experiencing increasing difficulty with finding words, especially compared to your prior ability, you should talk to your physician about the possibility of being referred for a neurological evaluation.

Best wishes,

Roberta Elman

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