Husker advocates for aphasia awareness, earns state recognition
Alyssa Mount, a master’s student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s speech-language pathology program, wanted to find a way to increase the general public’s knowledge about aphasia.
She found a new platform for awareness on June 17, when she helped include Aphasia Awareness Month in a proclamation ceremony with Governor Pete Ricketts at the Nebraska State Capitol.
“I always have a goal in mind that if we can teach at least one person in the community what aphasia is and how it can impact people, then that’s one more person who can use that knowledge,” Mount said.
Aphasia is a disorder of understanding and using symbols, most evident in difficulty using or understanding language. It is caused by damage to the brain, often as the result of a stroke.
For the past two years, Mount has organized the annual Aphasia Awareness Walk in early June on East Campus — but noticed it was difficult to promote the event because many people aren't familiar with what aphasia actually is.
This realization led her to push for Aphasia Awareness Month to be officially recognized by the state.
“Building that awareness can help create empathy and acceptance when a person encounters someone who has aphasia or difficulty communicating,” Mount said. “That’s what made being included in the ceremony so important – it’s a way to advocate for individuals who might not have the means to advocate for themselves and their needs.”
The Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic on East Campus offers a variety of support for individuals with aphasia, including group and individual services. It also sponsors the Aphasia Community Partners Program, which pairs a volunteer with a person with aphasia.
These services help people with aphasia participate in community activities, improving social engagement and decreasing isolation.
To learn more about the aphasia services offered at the Barkley Clinic, visit the clinic's website.