OSU-Tulsa’s Cowboy Aphasia Camp participants will be testing special T-shirts emblazoned with an array of picture icons to see if they can help people with aphasia communicate with others.
The intensive week-long treatment program, which begins Monday, pairs each client with a graduate student clinician, will begin Monday. Activities include pet therapy, yoga, music and brain games. This year, a certified laughter yoga instructor will visit to provide laugh therapy.
An estimated two million people in the U.S. have aphasia, a language disorder that affects the ability to use and understand words after a stroke, brain tumor or other head injury. Many are unable to say words at all, while others have limited use of language.
OSU-Tulsa has teamed up with ICONSPEAK, a Swiss company that produces icon-emblazoned T-shirts for travelers to use to communicate in countries where they don’t understand the language. ICONSPEAK donated the shirts for this year’s campers and clinicians.
“We feel a similar design could be helpful for people with aphasia and related medical needs,” said Karen Copeland, speech-language pathologist and adjunct professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program. “Our feedback will help ICONSPEAK design a T-shirt for people with these challenges.”
Aphasia also can affect an individual’s ability to understand what people say, put words together, retrieve words, read, write and do math, she said.
“People with aphasia are just as intelligent on the inside but they are unable to use language to prove that to anybody else,” Copeland said. “The goal of camp is to help people to be more confident and to learn strategies to deal with the disorder.”
The camp is hosted by the OSU-Tulsa Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, which prepares speech-language pathologists to work in clinics, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and schools. Students also get hands-on training and experience with community pediatric evaluations, speech-language therapy and newborn hearing screenings throughout the year at the Speech and Hearing Clinic on campus.
The participation of graduate student clinicians at Cowboy Aphasia Camp distinguishes the program from others throughout the country. The camp provides graduate students an opportunity to hone their professional skills and ability to help people with aphasia in recovery.
To learn more about the OSU-Tulsa Communication Sciences and Disorders program, visit the degree website. For more information about aphasia, contact the National Aphasia Association at http://www.aphasia.org/.
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