Ed, 33, was once the captain of his high school soccer team, member of his school’s varsity track team, swimmer, water skier, runner and professional athletic trainer. He is also an avid Yankees, Jets fan and more recently, a stroke survivor with aphasia.
He became a member of Adler Aphasia Center in 2012. As his parents say, the center gave him back his life. He could not say many words and was slow to meet others, being one of the youngest center members. It took him almost a year for him to say “Dad” again, a huge highlight for his father who had not heard his son call him that since his stroke in 2005.
Ed’s life was always enriched by sports and showed great passion for them. Shortly after running a 10K race, he was hospitalized with a severe headache. Complications of a dissection of the carotid artery led to a stroke, putting him in a 47-day coma and aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder that impairs the expression and understanding of spoken language, reading and writing. It occurs most often from a stroke or brain injury. This frustrating condition affects a person’s ability to communicate, but does not affect his or her intellect.
Adler Aphasia Center is a nonprofit organization based in Maywood and West Orange, New Jersey. It is an innovative post-rehabilitative therapeutic program that addresses the long-term needs of people with aphasia and their families. The center also offers six Aphasia Communication Groups in five New Jersey counties: Bergen, Morris, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties.
The programs and activities offered at Adler Aphasia Center are facilitated by speech language pathologists and healthcare professionals. They all share the primary goals of enhancing the communication skills of its members. They also provide opportunities for social and peer support, while building members’ self-esteem and self-confidence.
“Since joining the Center, Ed has rediscovered vocabulary he hasn’t used since his stroke. He now enthusiastically communicates and engages others in conversation. He no longer asks for our help to communicate his thoughts. Ed uses the phone as never before, both to receive and initiate calls with friends and family. He has improved language and has helped him to be an even better father to his children,” wrote his parents, Rosemary and Bob.
With increased confidence, he has been participating more frequently in center activities. This year and last, he has taken on leading roles in the center’s annual musical productions. He managed to learn almost 90 minutes of lines when he played the lead in Grease. He has redirected his life, developed new skills and abilities behind the lens of a camera.
Recently, he spoke publicly about living with aphasia to an international audience at a major pharmaceutical company. He also reacquainted himself with the sports he once loved and has taken on new ones, thanks to an area adaptive sports program.
He is among the two million people living with aphasia in the U.S., with roughly 70,000 in New Jersey alone. The full service centers in Maywood and West Orange are just two of just a handful worldwide that provide long term post-rehabilitation aphasia therapy. The center also offers Aphasia communication groups in six New Jersey counties twice a week to enable people with aphasia to build their communication skills and learn about resources in their own communities.
Members of the Adler Aphasia Center receive the therapeutic support needed to live a better quality of life by building their communication skills and increasing their self-confidence. The center also provides social and peer support, easing the isolation people with aphasia often feel. As aphasia affects the entire family, the center also offers weekly caregiver support groups.
For more information about the Adler Aphasia Center’s programs and services in Maywood or West Orange, NJ, or for information about the Center’s Aphasia Communication Groups in Bridgewater, Maywood, Morristown, Scotch Plains, Toms River and Union, visit their website at www.AdlerAphasiaCenter.org or call (201) 368-8585.