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Graduate students in communication sciences and disorders created the Blue Hen Brew Crew to support people with aphasia.

June 20: Aphasia support group

Photo courtesy of College of Health Sciences

Blue Hen Brew Crew support group serves people with aphasia, caregivers

The University of Delaware College of Health Sciences’ communication sciences and disorders graduate program and STAR Health have created the Blue Hen Brew Crew, a coffee house-style support group for people with aphasia and their care partners.

The support group will meet at 10 a.m. the third Tuesday of every month in the STAR Health Sciences Complex on the University’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. The first meeting will be held June 20 in the building’s south atrium. For more information, contact the STAR Health Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at slhclinic@udel.edu or 302-831-7100.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. It affects a person’s ability to express their wants, needs and ideas. People with aphasia often experience social isolation because of an inability to effectively communicate with those around them.

Aphasia most often results from a stroke or other insult to the language areas of the brain. Between 25 and 40 percent of people who survive a stroke acquire aphasia. The Delaware Stroke Initiative shows that more than 15,000 living Delaware residents reported suffering a stroke.

UD’s speech-language pathologists identified a need for a social, educational and supportive group for individuals with aphasia in the state. As part of a semester-long Life Participation Project, first-year graduate students were tasked with creating a plan to implement a support group for adults with aphasia and their caregivers.

At the close of the semester, the Blue Hen Brew Crew successfully pitched their idea to a review board, which included Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and Rita Landgraf, director of UD’s Partnership for Healthy Communities.

The group’s primary purpose is to provide a safe, positive and natural atmosphere for individuals with aphasia to interact with one another. The group will also provide education on topics related to communication skills and general health and wellness.

Each group meeting is run by a licensed speech-language pathologist with the assistance of several graduate students and undergraduate volunteers to act as supportive communication partners.

Each meeting will offer complimentary refreshments, including tea and – of course – coffee.

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