K-DEER Jody Stripe and the Adler Aphasia Center: Reconnection. Rediscovery. Recovery.

October 21, 2020 3 min read

K-DEER Jody Stripe and the Adler Aphasia Center:  Reconnection. Rediscovery.  Recovery.

Jody stripe in the one that started it all - the K-DEER signature stripe collection - dedicated to giving back and raising the vibration for a multitude of causes.  5% of sales of Jody are donated to the Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood, NJ.  Kristine and her family have witnessed first-hand how the Adler community can transform the lives of stroke and brain injury survivors.  

Clinical Director, Karen Catska, was kind enough to give us an update on how Adler is adapting to continue serving their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aphasia…this word is unknown to so many people; however, there are more than 2 million people in the US affected by it.  Aphasia is a language disorder that can occur after someone has had a stroke or some type of brain injury.  All people with aphasia have difficulty with word finding; that’s that tip-of-your-tongue feeling, where you know what you want to say but can’t find the words.  Each person with aphasia is different from the others. Some can speak in full sentences, while others may have no real words at all.  While someone’s speaking ability may be impaired, their memory, intellect, and personality remain the same.  Imagine if you were picked up and dropped into a foreign country where you don’t know the language.  All your thoughts are the same, you just have difficulty communicating; that’s similar to what it's like to experience aphasia.  Aphasia is a chronic disorder, and there is no cure.Understandably, having aphasia can make someone feel very isolated.    

My name is Karen Castka and I am the Clinical Director at the Adler Aphasia Center.  I have been with "Adler" for 15 years. When I first came to Adler, I sensed that it was a very special place. The Adler Aphasia Center is a non-profit organization that serves people with aphasia and their families throughout the state of NJ.  Our mission is to enrich the lives of people with aphasia, their families, and their communities. Typically, we provide in-person therapeutic programming where people with aphasia can practice their communication skills, socially connect to others with aphasia, and gain back the confidence to communicate with others and continue living their lives.  

This is a program where people with aphasia can feel like people rather than someone with an impairment.  Our people with aphasia go camping, perform in plays, sing in choirs, cook, learn new technology…really the opportunities are endless.  I am extremely fortunate to work with this fearless and resilient group of people.

COVID-19 has certainly impacted our community and our program. Two weeks after we closed our doors due to the pandemic, we modified our program to become 100% virtual.  We changed our in-person groups into Zoom virtual groups. Our participants were thereby still able to connect with each other, even in these uncertain times.  And just this month we relaunched our Aphasia Meet-Up group where people with aphasia from across the country connect to others virtually.  

Learn more about Adler Aphasia Center here or watch this wonderful video.

Other resources:

www.aphasia.org – National Aphasia Association.  Here you can find a list of computer apps for people with aphasia, communication aides, support groups and community aphasia programs, a description of the various types of aphasia therapies, etc.

www.stroke.org – National Stroke Association.  Here you can find stroke warning signs, stroke prevention tips, and information on stroke recovery.

www.caregiver.com – For more information on caregiving.

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