12 Days of Tap 2018: Day 2
The Phone Call that Changed my Life
– Tom Barrett –
TAP has changed me and helped me become a better person…
I had never heard of Aphasia until August 2015, when a lady called me to help her husband in his recovery from a Stroke. The wild thing about this is the person who called me got my name from a friend of a friend. Until then my experience had been caring for older folks with dementia. I never could have imagined how my life would change from that one phone call!
The person who I was helping and I, started to attend TAP. Right from the beginning we felt accepted, loved, understood and supported. You see, a family member or a care giver can have all the empathy in the world, but only a person who has Aphasia can truly understand what it means to go through life with Aphasia. Imagine knowing what you want to say, but not being able to say it. TAP gives people hope, encouragement, understanding, purpose and love.
TAP challenges you. TAP allows you the dignity to fail. TAP picks you up when you don’t want to go on anymore. TAP lets you know you are not alone. TAP shows you that your ability to communicate can and will improve if you keep showing up. TAP give your life back.
TAP also gives hope to your family members. Think about trying to communicate to your loved one and not being able to. Your spouse feels powerless, lost and hopeless. Then you start attending TAP and after time you see your loved one improving, laughing, speaking, and fighting. Think about the fact that a person with Aphasia has to learn to write again, very often with the opposite hand. They may have to learn the alphabet again, how to read and write their name. This has to be one of the hardest most sobering things to deal with.
Besides the hope, encouragement, and empowerment TAP provides for people with Aphasia, TAP gives care givers, loved one, friends, and family the ability to communicate with the person dealing with Aphasia. TAP enables people like me, who have never heard of Aphasia and is not a Speech Therapist the ability, knowledge and education to help our loved ones. Think about how powerless the people in the lives of a person who has Aphasia feels. TAP give us hope.
Finally having a stroke or a brain injury leaves the person with a very expensive medical bill. Hospital cost, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive equipment all of these things add up. TAP allows our people to not worry about costs, set aside your anxiety of medical bills and focus on getting better. Costs are kept to a minimal and that gives people one less thing to worry about.
I could go on for days about TAP, but I will leave you with this; TAP works! Our little family is touching and changing lives all across the state. Our leaders are showing people in other states what works. TAP is the best thing I have ever experienced and truly feel blessed to be a part of the TAP family.
From the TAP Home Office…
From the moment Tom became involved in TAP, first as an observer, then as a volunteer and committee member, it was clear that he embraced the TAP philosophy of “I can and I will”. He has used this inspirational foundation to encourage, or gently nudge, clients to do the very best that they can. Tom ensures that we don’t see that “I can’t” jar fill up and reminds people of their potential. His faith in our organization has evidenced itself by his generosity of time and energy to be sure that every event we put on is well attended and well funded! I know that he gets back as much as he gives and we are very grateful that he received that phone call!
Thank you for all you do, and all you are, Tom!!!