DENTON (UNT), Texas — Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States with more than 795,000 people suffering one each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people who experience a stroke wake up in the hospital with no recollection of why they’re there. All they know is that they are having difficulty speaking, reading or writing, and that they are unable to communicate the way they always have. This is called aphasia, and it’s a common language disorder following a stroke.
Tom Broussard is a stroke survivor who began chronicling his experiences while still in his hospital bed. Those journals are now a trilogy entitled, “Stroke Diary.” At 5:30 p.m. on July 19, he will be at the University of North Texas to share the journey of how he lost and regained language in hopes of increasing awareness of aphasia. The free event will be held in the UNT Union Lyceum, located at 1155 Union Circle in Denton. Donations of $5 will be accepted.
“Tom and I met at the American Speech and Hearing Association's national conference about three years ago and have been talking about his goal to present in all 50 states to educate people about aphasia and stroke recovery,” said Stacy Nunnelee, audiology and speech language pathology professor. “We are his one and only stop, so far, in Texas and it is the privilege of UNT’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology to host his visit.”
Broussard was invited by the UNT chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association to help people learn more about aphasia, which is one of the many disorders the UNT Speech and Hearing Center treats.
“We have a strong aphasia program that provides individualized therapy for each client's goals, and we offer different groups that focus on language skills and strategies,” Nunnelee said. “We also offer a thriving monthly support group that is open to the community.”
Nunnelee says Broussard will give attendees a personalized look at aphasia.
“We hope that by bringing Tom Broussard, he can provide education and information from his unique perspective that will encourage growth and provide hope.”