Jstandard: Miryam Wahrman's Cover Stories on Aphasia


Got ____? Aphasia: At a loss for words

Miryam Z. Wahrman, Science Correspondent Cover Story
It’s hard to daven properly because I have to learn again,” said Avi Golden, who is recovering from a stroke that left him with aphasia — difficulty in communicating — as well as difficulties in using his right arm. Golden, who is an Orthodox Jew, has made great strides in his recovery over the last three years, with the help of the Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood, but he has a hard time with prayer, as the stroke left him unable to read Hebrew. On Shabbat he goes to synagogue, but he has not yet felt ready to be called up to the Torah for an aliyah. “I look and I pray,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s good also.” In September he is planning to start taking classes at Lehman College in the Bronx, where he will be working with the speech clinic “to learn Hebrew again.”

Aphasia advocacy

Miryam Z. Wahrman • Cover Story
A bill has been introduced into the New Jersey legislature (S1931 and A2811) to establish a New Jersey Aphasia Study Commission in the Department of Health and Senior Services. Sponsors of the bill include state Sens. Loretta Weinberg and Diane Allen and Assembly members Valerie Huttle, Gordon Johnson, Connie Wagner and Joan Voss. The Senate version of the bill (S1931) states that the purpose of the commission is to: “establish a mechanism in order to ascertain the prevalence of aphasia in New Jersey, and the unmet needs of persons with aphasia and those of their families,” to “study model aphasia support programs,” and to “provide recommendations for additional support programs and resources…”

Adler Aphasia Center in Jerusalem

According to the Hadassah College Website, the Adler Aphasia Center at Hadassah College in Jerusalem is the “first international branch of the Adler Aphasia Center in New Jersey.”

“My friend Miriam Josephs, who was very active in Hadassah, raised $100,000 for scholarships for Hadassah College, where they teach speech pathology,” said Elaine Adler. “That led to starting the center there.”

Help for aphasia caregivers

Mary Slade, a panelist at an Adler Aphasia Center information session who is recovering from aphasia, observed, “It takes a family time to accept that a person had a stroke and has aphasia. When you first get sick there is often anger, confusion, and frustration.”
Elaine Adler became a caregiver when her husband Mike had a stroke. “When the breadwinner becomes aphasic, what happens to the family?” Adler asked. “The spouse has to take care of the aphasic and the family…. I realized how important it is to help the caregiver.”