The Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited Helps Hundreds of Triangle Residents and Their Families Find Support, Community Following Brain Injuries
Maura Silverman still remembers what drew her to speech pathology. As an undergraduate student, she watched her former babysitter, a speech pathologist, work with a well-known community leader who had disappeared from the public eye. The man struggled to communicate.
“I remember her saying, ‘He has aphasia. He knows everything he wants to say, but he can’t get it out.’ And the gentlemen shouted, ‘Yes, yes,” Maura recalls. “I knew right then I wanted to help people like this man reconnect to their world.”
Aphasia, a communication disorder that results from damage or injury to the language parts of the brain, affects nearly 2 million Americans. Despite its prevalence, most people have never heard of the condition. In 2003, Maura left her job as a speech-language pathologist to create the Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited and serve individuals and families affected by aphasia. TAP Unlimited offers support and programming for individuals with aphasia to help them improve their language skills while also providing a sense of community. The organization also offers resources and support for families and friends of those suffering from aphasia.
“Research has shown that 92 percent of people with aphasia consider themselves socially isolated,” Maura says. “TAP Unlimited offers group sessions where individuals can practice their speech skills with the assistance of SLPs and trained volunteers, as well as book clubs, garden clubs and more.”
Since its inception, TAP Unlimited has worked with hundreds of individuals across the Triangle. Many individuals who once participated in the program come back to serve as volunteers.
“I don’t want people with aphasia to look at this catastrophic thing that happened and say, ‘This is going to define me forever,” Maura explains. “We want to help give them back their lives again.”