The afternoon of October 6th was a picture perfect
day for the Aphasia Center of California's 5 year anniversary
educational seminar and celebration. More than 120 people with
aphasia, family members, and friends gathered together in the
ballroom of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center to learn about
"Living with Aphasia" and the programs available at the Aphasia
Center of California.
The keynote speaker of the afternoon was Dr. Audrey
Holland, Regents' Professor from the University of Arizona. Her
uplifting talk, entitled "Self-Determination and Aphasia," discussed
the importance of people with aphasia taking responsibility for
their future either by continuing to work on language skills or
by becoming a participant in an aphasia group or by reentering
As part of her presentation, Dr. Holland showed
an inspirational videotape interview of the late Mr. Roger Ross,
a stroke survivor with aphasia. Mr. Ross poignantly described
his journey from deep depression to once again living life fully,
even with aphasia.
The afternoon continued
with performances by James Miller, David Rose, Bill Wong, and
Philip Tien, members of the Expressive Arts class. Director Paoli
Lacey and class members had worked together for more than 4 months
and the skits they presented brought at times laughter and tears
to members of the audience.
Elyse Dukatz, the Aphasia Center's fitness/relaxation
class instructor, shared a videotape of several exercise routines
performed by her class, which got everyone's feet tapping and
hands clapping. Participants in the fitness class included Tom
Boggs, Judi Briano, Dwane Carlstrom, Willoris, Childs, Iste Ingham,
Bob Ingham, Tom Luebben, James Preston, Jackie Richard, David
Rose, Jim Santanna, Diana Sullivan and Lynne Tabor.
Speech-language pathologist, Susan Ewing led a
demonstration of communication techniques with Aphasia Center
members Terrie Gamman and Bill Wong. The demonstration helped
audience members to learn some basic strategies for improving
language comprehension and expression when communicating with
people who have aphasia.
The educational part of the day finished with
a therapist panel that included Dr. Audrey Holland, Dr. Roberta
Elman, Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, and Susan Ewing. The panel answered
audience questions about aphasia. An art exhibit from the Aphasia
Center's art class graced the building's hallway along with
festive balloons and two long community resource tables were
packed full of information on stroke and aphasia.
The afternoon ended with a celebration complete
with cake and refreshments. Musical entertainment for the day
was provided by our own Martin Aston on harmonica and Jenny
Ellis on harp.
Thanks to the event organizers and committee
members: Enid Meyer, Vicki Welcome, Gail Stabe, Ceci Pugh, Roberta
Elman, and Susan Ewing. A big thank you to event day volunteers:
Prudence, Ashley, John Taijala, Sid Dommes, Steve Fry, Don Welcome,
Tracy Green, Mary Jane & Rich Laufenberg, Carol Sommers, Jim
Dodge, and Diana & Dan Sullivan. Thanks also to those individuals
and sponsors who made donations of time or materials: Gail Burroughs,
Albertson's, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Douglas Parking, Glenview
Florist, Montclair, Produce, and Greetings. The event would
not have been possible without the support and assistance of
Oakland Senior Center staff: Dr. Howard Banchefsky, Merrill
Cotton, Dan Foley and Verlie Dotson. Thank you to all for making
this day and our first 5 years as an organization so successful!!