‘Coffee Chat’ an engaging program for those living with aphasia

Socialization and communication are building blocks to society, necessary for people to connect with one another.

Socialization and communication are building blocks to society, necessary for people to connect with one another. For those living with aphasia, these skills are stolen and the results can be devastating.

Luckily, those with aphasia in Central Alberta do not have to suffer alone, thanks to Coffee Chat. Coffee Chat is a program for those who are living with aphasia – an acquired language disorder that typically affects people who have suffered brain damage.

“Coffee Chat was developed to be a program for people who have suffered a stroke and who now have aphasia to be able to participate in an active communication group where they get the confidence, ability, and support to be able to actually converse,” said speech language pathologist and program facilitator Karrie Paige.

Aphasia can take several forms, and is most commonly caused by strokes. A person living with this condition would have symptoms ranging from difficulty remembering words to the loss of the ability to speak, read and write.

It does not impact intelligence, only language skills.

The group is an unstructured socialization program that can be accessed by speaking to local speech pathologists and PCN doctors. It is designed to be a comfortable place for people who may struggle with conversation to work through topics of their interest and to engage with others who also have aphasia.

“Before people have a stroke, socialization is an essence of what we do – speaking. We go for talking, we go for drinks, and we talk. At the end of the night, sometimes we don’t even know what we talked about but we were socializing and engaging with other people. Having aphasia means that that part of being human is stolen from you. Their voice is stolen in that they often have so much they want to say, but their brain is holding it hostage and they just aren’t able to get the words out,” Paige said.

“A lot of our clients who have aphasia become socially isolated and are afraid to talk because often when they try the words don’t come out right, or they find that they can’t participate in the kinds of coffee groups, or beers with the friends or whatever.”

Paige’s role as a facilitator and speech pathologist is to help the clients understand and follow conversation, and then in turn provide assistance in participation. Some of the tools she uses to help people communicate are boards with various answers and phrases on them and even iPad programs.

“We know that people with strokes need more opportunities to communicate and use their skills. Unfortunately, there aren’t many opportunities in the community. A lot of people don’t even know what aphasia is or how to work with someone who has it,” Paige said.

“We’re doing training all the time to teach what’s called supportive conversation for people with aphasia. It teaches people how to interact with people affected by aphasia so that the person affected can understand what is being said to them and so that they have a way to respond.”

Paige said there are similar programs across the country that aim to educate and rehabilitate those living with aphasia and the people in their lives. The programs are monitored by speech pathologists so they can help people understand how to interact with a person living with aphasia, and to help those affected to take their turn in conversation.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read