Time & Change

by Olivia Fox
My second semester as a participant in the Aphasia Initiative has come to an end. Just like last semester, my weekly attendance to therapy group quickly became one of the main things I looked forward to every week. Luckily, I will have the opportunity to spend my final semester at Ohio State participating in this wonderful program one last time. This experience has been nothing short of a blessing. Undergraduate students do not have many chances to practice hands-on learning outside of the classroom. As a senior looking ahead, the skills and the confidence that I have gained from the Aphasia Initiative have left me feeling prepared and more motivated than ever for my future graduate school journey. Before I ever started coming to these group therapy sessions last semester, I was nervous and slightly intimidated. While I had learned about Aphasia in multiple of my speech and hearing courses, I had never interacted with anyone who has it. I quickly realized that there was absolutely nothing to worry about. Getting to know the individual adults more and more every week is such a privilege. They all have different backgrounds, hobbies, interests, professions and loved ones that they are always eager to talk about. Prior to this experience, I wrongly assumed that I would not be able to communicate with most of the adults in depth about these parts of their lives. With the guidance of one of the speech language pathologists for this program, Arin, we learn what the strengths and weaknesses of each adult are and what tools and exercises we can use to best aid them in their communication. I have taken away so much more from this than I ever could have imagined. More so than ever this year, time has brought with it a lot of change. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes, both large and small, in just about every area of our lives. Adjusting to virtual learning and socialization has been difficult for everyone. Among many other things, the Aphasia Initiative therapy groups had to make the switch to virtual attendance. While the format this past semester was very different, I am thankful that we were able to continue with the program. Due to not being in the clinic, my role this semester became more observational, however this enabled me to learn valuable lessons from watching the graduate students run sessions. Especially during times of quarantine and lockdowns, I assume that these therapy groups became more of a support system than ever for many members. Throughout all the change that has occurred over time, the members have continuously been so encouraging and uplifting towards one another. Their motivation to constantly show up, work hard, be flexible and open with us has been inspiring. I believe that time and change of 2020 has only strengthened the friendships, relationships and impact of this program. As the Buckeye saying goes… “Time and Change Will Surely Show, How Firm Thy Friendship”

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