Respite & Recovery

Aphasia is a language disorder typically resulting from a stroke or brain injury and often paired with physical and motor impairments.

“You can imagine after a lifetime of being 100 percent functional and then acquiring this, if you’re living with a spouse, things change,” said Dr. Amanda Stead, a faculty member in Pacific’s speech-language pathology program.

The Pacific University schools of Communication Sciences & Disorders and Occupational Therapy teamed up with the Aphasia Network in March 2016 to provide a one-of-a-kind respite and recovery camp for aphasia patients and their partners on the Oregon Coast. The camp is one of several clinical programs that give students clinical experience while filling local care gaps.

The camp brought together 12 couples, pairing each with an occupational therapy student and a speech-language pathology student, along with a team of other healthcare providers.

Among the activities: “We’re having people with aphasia cook and prepare appetizers and serve them to their spouse, because that’s not something that happens anymore (in their lives),” Stead said. “We’re showing them that, with the right tools, this is possible again.”

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