12 Days of Tap 2020: Day 10
Life Interrupted, but Far From Over!
– Stephen Albright –
“Twenty four?? What? I thought strokes happen to older people!” Those of us in the rehabilitation field hear this exclamation often…shock that someone so young could suffer a brain injury of this type. But, unfortunately, it happens and the incidence is rising. I’ve read that more than 10% of the 800,000 strokes that happen in the U.S. each year strike adults younger than 45. And a stroke occurring in a teenager or young adult is certainly a devastating blow in so many ways. TAP Unlimited serves individuals from 18-99 years old and our average age is 47! Think about all of your activities, hopes and aspirations begin complicated, or outright sidelined, by a stroke and aphasia.
I am so appreciative of Stephen, who is relatively new to our TAP family, for sharing his story, for diving into the mission of awareness and advocacy for aphasia and for bringing to light the challenges that COVID-19 has had on those experiencing stroke/aphasia in the midst of a pandemic. Watch his video! Stephen’s dramatic and terrifying recounting of feeling “confused” and “alone” in the hospital upon awakening from brain surgery is chilling. It is what we, as speech pathologists and healthcare workers, have feared! But its also what we have taken on as a valid and vital accessibility and human right!
A person with aphasia, a communication disorder, requires…and has the right, to supports necessary for communicative access… and yes, this often means another person! Per the amazing organization CommunicationFIRST: “If you are a patient in a hospital or other health care setting, you still have communication and other civil rights under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—even during a pandemic.” The realities of COVID-19 are frightening and the restrictions put in place by healthcare facilities, adult living communities and businesses has been essential. This can not, however, result in limited access to information and services for people with difficulty in comprehension or expression of language. TAP has both heard and witnessed the impact of how an “abundance of caution” has resulted in increased isolation and risk…we have also heard of great advocacy on behalf of individuals with aphasia by healthcare workers, family members and volunteers. We encourage creativity (i.e. FaceTime, Zoom, etc.) and consideration in anticipating and determining needs of persons with aphasia during this challenging time. Contact TAP for information on strategies and tools you can use if your loved one is hospitalized or lives in a facility and stay tuned for an upcoming TAPTalk.
Stephen, thank you…for this opening to share information on aphasia advocacy and for being a strong voice representing each of our values: Hope, Determination, Engagement and Purpose. We are grateful for you!
My name is Stephen Albright and I’m 24 years old. I had a stroke seven months ago because of an “AVM”, which is a birth defect where a vein and an artery is twisted together. I’m still working on my aphasia, but I’m progressing and I’ll get there!
While I’ve had multiple adversities in my life – concussions, cancer, and a stroke – I’ve been lucky to have my family, friends, and therapists. They have pushed me every day to get better, and I wouldn’t be able to do this without them.
I really believe that adversity is what makes us stronger. We just must keep going!
From the TAP Home Office:
TAP Unlimited’s End of Year Campaign provides TAP Stakeholders an opportunity to embrace the reason for our efforts and hear from those who have been impacted by aphasia. Aphasia, as you know, can be a devastating impairment resulting in social isolation, depression and disengagement from the passions and purpose of an individual’s life. It can interrupt a career, destroy plans for retirement and threaten relationships. TAP Unlimited is embarking on its 18th year of service to those effected by aphasia across the Triangle and beyond.
Our ability to pivot and create a virtual world of connection possibilities, to stay afloat and to even thrive, has been, in no small way, a result of the generosity of our donor base. Today, we ask that you continue to support TAP by doing the following:
- Share this story. Share it on your social media, in emails to your family/friends and to those you work with…it will increase awareness of Aphasia and provide hope to those who feel alone in this journey.
- Consider an end-of-year gift to TAP. You can donate online and make it a gift by honoring someone on the aphasia journey.
- Donations can also be mailed in the form of a check or a donation of stock. Email us for more information.
Thank you for your faith in our organization and for supporting the 12 Days of TAP!