by Claire Miller
Following a major life event, it’s easy to categorize everything into “before” and “after.”
Before her stroke 17 years ago, Nancy Morris was a teacher and assistant headmaster at Paideia School in Atlanta. Afterward, she worked with speech-language pathologists to help address her aphasia, a language disorder someone develops following a neurological event, such as a stroke.
But Morris’s story is one of hope. Since her stroke, she’s taken up painting and now serves as co-president of the Atlanta Aphasia Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “educating the community about adults living with aphasia and the need for vocational, social, educational, funding and research opportunities for these individuals.”
“I couldn’t talk at all for a long time after my stroke, and now I can drive you crazy with how much I talk,” she said. “I really think I’ve worked hard and my speech is better.”
Morris is one of several people living with aphasia who will participate in a panel discussion about their experiences as part of the National Aphasia Association’s Regional Speaking Out Conference, scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Georgia State University Student Center.
Co-hosted by the College of Education’s Communication Disorders Program, the conference will feature presentations highlighting research on living with and treating aphasia , breakout sessions and a keynote address from Dawn McGuire, a neurologist and faculty member in the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Neurosciences Institute.
“This is a unique conference because it brings together researchers, professionals and people living with aphasia,” said Jacqueline Laures-Gore, College of Education associate professor and one of the conference’s coordinators. “I hope people leave the conference with a better understanding of aphasia from different perspectives–the research side, the clinical side and the personal side.”
Registration is required to attend. Registration costs $35 for those living with or affected by aphasia, $75 for professionals and $25 for students.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Atlanta Aphasia Association, Emory Healthcare, Georgia State University's Language and Literacy Initiative and the University of South Carolina. For more information about this event, visit http://aphasia.org/RegionalConference.html.