Community Heroes: TAP Unlimited’s Maura Silverman

The following is an article from the June 2017 issue of "Get Your Ducks in a Row" Carolina Family Estate Planning's free newsletter. You can read the rest of the issue, as well as back issues of our newsletter online at www.carolinafep.com/library/newsletters/ or subscribe for free at www.carolinafep.com/newsletter.cfm

In April, Jackie presented “The 11 Threats to You, Your Family, and Your Assets” at the Triangle Aphasia Project, Unlimited. We interviewed founder Maura Silverman to learn more about the organization.

TAP's Maura Silverman with Jackie at the TAP Main Office.What is aphasia, the condition that you help with?

Aphasia is a devastating communication impairment most often caused by stroke or other brain injury, less frequently caused by progressive neurological diseases. It is a language disorder, not an intellectual disorder. Imagine knowing what you want to say, but being unable to communicate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

One of our biggest barriers is that aphasia is not commonly understood. Despite the fact that 2 million people in America will be diagnosed with aphasia by 2020, recent survey by the National Aphasia Association found that 84.5% have never heard of it.

There is no “cure” for aphasia. However, we are learning a great deal about neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to rewire itself. While it is an exciting time as new treatment options emerge, there are limited resources available to implement them.

Who is affected by aphasia?

While often people think strokes happen to “older people,” our program’s average age is actually 47 years old. While we have individuals as old as 90, we frequently serve younger victims of stroke and brain injury.

What does TAP, Unlimited do?

The Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP), Unlimited is a nonprofit that serves individuals with aphasia, their families, and the community. We work in collaboration with an individual’s speech pathologist, introducing them to programs where they can connect with others with aphasia; practice language skills in reading, writing,  listening, and speaking; and form important connections to return to their life interests and pursuits. We provide families with training, education, and support for dealing with aphasia in their daily lives. And we help professionals plan for their clients’ optimal recovery.

What made you decide to found TAP Unlimited?

I founded TAP, Unlimited in 2003 after more than a decade of serving individuals with aphasia across the continuum of care. I noticed that insurance reviewers, rather than patients and their treatment teams, were controlling decisions about cost and length of treatment. Meanwhile, social rehabilitation models, such as the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia, were being developed around improving quality of life and engagement in the community. TAP, Unlimited was a dream fulfilled: A way to provide individuals with a safe landing, a platform for continued gains in communication, and most importantly, communicative confidence.

Ironically, my own mother suffered a severe stroke in December of 2009, leaving her with nonfluent aphasia. Because of TAP, Unlimited, I was able to more clearly identify what caregivers and community providers needed to serve this population.

Tell me about Flashback Friday, your upcoming event.

We host a signature event every year that always revolves around music, as music is an incredible avenue for communication. Individuals who can’t utter a single word may be able to “sing” their messages and use rhythm to regain verbal communication. Besides, who doesn’t love music?

This year, we’re celebrating music through the decades. A group of TAP clients (the TAPTastics) will perform, and a DJ will spin songs spanning the decades, from your youth all the way through current hits.

Maura, thank you for talking with us!

Thank you, we always appreciate the opportunity to get the word out, and we welcome assistance from the community through volunteer efforts, board and committee involvement, and donations.

🎵  🎸  🎤  🎹  🎶

Flashback Friday is on June 23rd at Cypress Manor

Tickets are $40 and include food, dancing, music, and photos. There is a silent auction, balloon pop, and a wine wall.

Information, tickets, and sponsorship opportunities are available at www.aphasiaproject.org

 

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