2021 Leadership Summit

Thank You For Making the 2021 Summit a Success!

The fourth Aphasia Access Leadership Summit was held virtually the 1st week of April 2021, gathering professionals in the trenches of helping people with aphasia navigate life. There was a combination of synchronous and asynchronous content Monday through Thursday, plus synchronous content on Friday and Saturday morning. Opportunities to interact with presenters in real time and asynchronously were available, using discussion boards.

The attendees were people charged with making environments more communication accessible, running hospital-, community- and university-based programs for people with aphasia, creating innovative products, teaching the next generation, and/or working on research. Through the summit theme, Uniting for action: Learning from one another, attendees engaged in meaningful conversations about how we can provide optimal services for those affected by aphasia.

Program Committee Chairs

Gayle DeDe, Ph.D., CCC-SLP – Temple University
Jerry K. Hoepner, Ph.D., CCC-SLP – University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire



*subject to change

Monday – Thursday (April 5th – April 8th), All Times in ET

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
 – The Complexity of Health and Healthcare Disparities in Aphasia: Beyond Measures of Impairment

Differences in aphasia outcomes with worse communication performance among some population groups are well established. Yet the underlying causes of these differences have not been carefully examined. The observed outcomes reflect both health disparities and healthcare disparities that are not easily untangled. In this presentation, the combined effect of individual upstream factors as well as healthcare system contributors to disparities will be explored specific to aphasia-related outcomes.


  • Charles Ellis Jr., ASHA Fellow; East Carolina University

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
– Panel on Tele-Practice for People with Aphasia

2020 provided many of us with a crash course in telepractice, but many SLPs were already providing remote services. This panel will discuss lessons learned about telerehabilitation including what did and did not work, how to optimize telerehabilitation for people with aphasia in individual and group settings, and how this experience will influence LPAA service delivery moving forward. The panel will include new and veteran users of telerehabilitation, as well as people with aphasia who participated in individual and group telerehabilitation.


  • Charles Ellis Jr., ASHA Fellow; East Carolina University
  • Tom Sather, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
  • Judy Walker, University of Maine
  • Trish Hambridge, Voices of Hope for Aphasia
  • Angelique Cauthorn, Aphasia Resource Collaboration Hub

2:00 PM – 2:45 PM – Rebuilding Identity: A Book Group Experience

A central construct within the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA).3 is that of “identity;” the role that personal narrative and life story play in supporting our sense of who we are, and how that connects with our past and our future.  In a recent text, Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke, Meyerson chronicles her recovery from stroke, along with the stories of other stroke survivors with and without aphasia, and their care partners.  A central theme in the text is the need for survivors to reconstruct positive identities in the face of whatever disabilities remain, so they can successfully rebuild rewarding lives.   We explored the impact of reading this book within the context of a group aphasia book club for individuals with aphasia.  This presentation will review methodologies for the group treatment sessions across two sites and preliminary outcomes from post-treatment interviews with participants.  We hope to better understand the experience of post-stroke aphasia recovery and the perceived impact of participating in an aphasia book club which is focused on identity in aphasia recovery.


  • Debra Meyerson, Stroke Onward & Stanford University
  • Jodi Kravitz, Stroke Onward
  • Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, California State University East Bay
  • Elizabeth Hoover, Boston University

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Using EVA Park in Aphasia Rehabilitation: An Application of Virtual Reality

This talk will introduce EVA Park, a virtual island designed with and for people with aphasia. Three research projects will be described, in which EVA Park was used to deliver communication stimulation, specific language therapies and group social support. Feasibility and acceptability findings from the studies will be presented, together with indicative results from outcome measures. The contribution of Virtual Reality to aphasia rehabilitation will be discussed, and potential future applications considered.


  • Jane Marshall, City, University of London

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (A Board Invited Talk From Our Keynote Sponsor – SCALE @ The League) Improving Patient Safety by Decreasing Communication Barriers to Care: Tips, Tools and Techniques 

According to the Joint Commission, 60%-70% of patient harm in hospitals is associated with lack of effective communication resulting in medication errors, poor outcomes, lawsuits, lower adherence to care recommendations and avoidable deaths. Effective patient-provider communication is an essential component of quality healthcare and patient safety, as well as the basic right of every patient.  However, employees in health care settings are typically unaware of methods of facilitating communication for individuals who have difficulty speaking, hearing, seeing, understanding, reading, writing or remembering. Research has shown that communication can be improved by implementing relevant communication supports such as material resources and adapting the environment. This presentation will provide participants with the knowledge, training, tools and resources needed to implement change in their healthcare setting. Tool kits and free downloadable resources will be presented.  Action ideas for the implementing these materials across healthcare settings will be provided.


  • Denise McCall, SCALE @ The League
  • Lisa Thornburg, Private Practice

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM – Topical Paradise: Promoting Full Conversational Participation for People With Aphasia

This talk will focus on why the ability to initiate new topics of conversation is critical to participation in daily life, and how intervention addressing topic initiation can empower PWA. We will provide practical techniques for facilitating and teaching topic initiation skills based on the literature in people with and without aphasia. The presentation will be relevant to individual and group programming, and will include points for educating communication partners to support topic initiation in PWA. Further, the topic initiation techniques provided are flexible, personally tailored to the individual/partner, and are appropriate for use in tandem with differing approaches/treatments.

*Note: This talk will not be available asynchronously at speaker’s request due to HIPAA considerations.


  • Marion Leaman, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Brent Archer, Bowling Green State University

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM – Techniques for Improving Engagement in Virtual Aphasia Book Clubs

The proliferation of teletherapy has revealed interesting changes in how aphasia intervention is delivered. This qualitative study describes the processes involved in this change, including clinician strategies leading to engaging and reciprocal interactions during virtual sessions. The presentation will include specific examples from the data including case illustrations of facilitation techniques and their impact on participation in therapy. These strategies should be considered when developing virtual aphasia groups to improve service delivery.


  • Jamie Azios, Lamar University
  • Jaime Lee, James Madison University
  • Roberta Elman, Aphasia Center of California

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM – Activity‐Focused and Impairment‐Focused Aphasia Treatment: Choose Wisely

Treatments may be selected to remediate impairments or to specifically address personally relevant activities. In this presentation we will define impairment-focused and activity-focused treatment approaches, and share the results of thirty-nine adults with chronic post-stroke aphasia who were randomly assigned to one of these two treatment types. While participants in both treatment groups made improvements, only the activity-focused treatment group showed significant improvement on performance of functional tasks. These data are consistent with other evidence that suggests that the most efficient way to improve activity-specific goals and performance is to use an activity-focused treatment.


  • Jackie Hinckley, Nova Southeastern University
  • Janet Patterson, Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM – Poster Sessions

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM – BYOB Cocktail Party in Gather.town

Friday Schedule (April 9th), All Times in ET

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM Coffee Time – Informal Conversations in Gather.town

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Welcome

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Unpacking Aphasia Groups: A Panel Conversation in Two Parts – Part One

Group therapy is a ubiquitous, cost-effective service delivery model for aphasia. There are many variables that can affect the quality of group programming, but what makes for an effective group? In this presentation, a panel of clinicians who work in different settings will discuss the factors that can maximize effectiveness of group work for clients with aphasia. This panel presentation will include discussion, demonstration through video clips and interactive conversation between the panelists and the audience.


  • Maura English Silverman, Triangle Aphasia Project, Unlimited
  • Rochelle Schneider-Cohen, Aphasia Institute
  • Jerry Kaplan, BU Sargent College
  • Esther Kim, University of Alberta

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM – Body & Mind Break: Yoga – Can We Cultivate Resilience in Aphasia?

This interactive presentation will define resilience and offer a brief overview on how resilience fits into aphasia rehabilitation. The mind-body practice of yoga will be presented as a tool to cultivate resilience in people with aphasia (survivors)—and their co-survivors. Stakeholders will share their unique perspectives regarding post-stroke experiences with yoga. A co-survivor/survivor dyad will share their personal healing yogic journey. A speech-language pathologist will describe and demonstrate how to integrate yoga into aphasia therapy as a way Maximize Therapeutic Effectiveness (YogaMate©). This session will conclude with a survivor leading the group in an accessible, aphasia friendly yoga session (Yoga4phasia©).


  • Aimee Dietz
  • Lauren Bislick
  • E. Susan Duncan
  • J. Chase Rushlow
  • Deanna Rushlow
  • Stephanie Van Allan

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Unpacking Aphasia Groups: A Panel Conversation in Two Parts – Part Two

Group therapy is a ubiquitous, cost-effective service delivery model for aphasia. There are many variables that can affect the quality of group programming, but what makes for an effective group?  In this presentation, a panel of clinicians who work in different settings will discuss the factors that can maximize effectiveness of group work for clients with aphasia. This panel presentation will include discussion, demonstration through video clips and interactive conversation between the panelists and the audience.


  • Maura English Silverman, Triangle Aphasia Project, Unlimited
  • Rochelle Schneider-Cohen, Aphasia Institute
  • Jerry Kaplan, BU Sargent College
  • Esther Kim, University of Alberta

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM – Lunch and Informal Chatting in Gather.town

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Brag and Steal Sessions (10 minutes each – 5 minutes for presentation, 5 minutes for Q&A)

FOQUSAphasia: A Working Group to Improve Evidence Around Spoken Discourse in Aphasia
Brielle C. Stark, Indiana University
Lucy Bryant, University of Technology Sydney
Dirk-bart den Ouden, University of South Carolina
Lucy Dipper, City College London
Laura Murray, Western University

Educating Students for LPAA in a Virtual Orientation
Robin Pollens, Western Michigan University
Suma Devanga, Western Michigan University
Marie Koss-Ryan, Western Michigan University
Elizabeth Nagler, Western Michigan University

Aphasia! This is Our World: Training Student Coaches to Virtually Support People with Aphasia with Storytelling
Brianne Kosch, Lingraphica and Aphasia Recovery Connection
Katie A. Strong, Central Michigan University

Listen Up! Raising Awareness for Aphasia on Facebook Live
Robin Straus, Adler Aphasia Center

The ARCH Network: A Collaborative Effort
Angelique Cauthorn, Aphasia Resource Collaboration Hub
Julie Schlesinger, Aphasia Resource Collaboration Hub
Nadine Martin, Temple University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

“Adler’s Hospital”
Sharon N. Glaser, Adler Aphasia Center

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Body & Mind Break – Aphasia Games for Health Prototype Preview

Aphasia Games for Health is a partnership between aphasia rehabilitation researchers, professional game designers, and Aphasia Recovery Connection (https://www.aphasiagamesforhealth.com/). We are developing group treatment games to help fight social isolation and support long-term language recovery at the same time. We are also working to provide resources to game designers who want to develop and adapt their own aphasia-friendly games. We will briefly discuss the premise and promise of therapeutic aphasia games, our multi-stakeholder design workshop process, and will then demo 3 prototype games we have developed and will be sharing creative commons with the aphasia community to playtest, adapt, and improve.


  • William S. Evans, University of Pittsburgh
  • Kathryn Hymes, Thorny Games
  • Hakan Seyalioglu, Thorny Games
  • Carol Dow-Richards, Aphasia Recovery Connection
  • Dee Brown, Aphasia Recovery Connection
  • Trish Hambridge, Voices of Hope for Aphasia
  • Jill Ventrice, Aphasia Recovery Connection
  • Jessica Hammer, Carnegie Mellon University

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Poster Sessions

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM – Awards

  • Presentation of the Audrey Holland Award, Innovator Award and a New Student Award


Saturday Schedule (April 10th) – All times in ET

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM  Therapeutic Alliance and Its Importance to Aphasia Rehabilitation

Therapeutic alliance encapsulates a “variety of therapist-client interactional and relational factors operating in the delivery of treatment” (Green, 2006 p426). Therapeutic alliance is particularly relevant to aphasia rehabilitation, precisely because the act of communication cannot be separated from personhood and social connection. This presentation will report findings from a series of studies to develop our understanding of therapeutic alliance in aphasia rehabilitation and how to capture important elements of that alliance in an assessment measure. Interview-based studies explored how speech and language therapists and people with aphasia develop and maintain therapeutic alliances. A Q methodology study examined which aspects of therapeutic alliance were valued by people with aphasia. The final study provides preliminary evidence of the psychometric properties of the Aphasia and Stroke Therapeutic Alliance Measure (A-STAM).


  • Karen Sage, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Michelle Lawton

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM – Break

11:10 AM – 12:10 PM – Collaborative Goal Setting for People with Aphasia

This presentation explores what it means to collaborate with people with aphasia on a meaningful treatment/learning plan. We discuss theoretical foundations for motivation and how to apply them to clinical goal-setting. Concrete examples and solutions illustrate what the speech-language pathologist can do to support active reflection, initiative, perseverance, accountability, and resilience in their clients with aphasia. The presentation concludes with an emphasis on the central role of communicative life participation goals.


  • Katarina Haley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

12:10 PM – 12:20 PM – Break

12:20 PM – 1:30 PM – Brag and Steal Sessions (10 minutes each – 5 minutes for presentation, 5 minutes for Q&A)

Lights, Camera, Action! People with Aphasia Sharing News Stories through Film
Kayla Fouraker, Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center

Don’t Stop the Music: Aphasia Music Club Tips and Considerations
Madison Fox, Stanford Health Care and the Aphasia Center of California
Roberta J. Elman, Aphasia Center of California

The Power of Chit-Chat: Connecting People With Aphasia Through Virtual Open Chats
Carol Dow-Richards, Aphasia Recovery Connection
Brianne Kosch, Lingraphica and Aphasia Recovery Connection

Reading Partners in the Time of COVID: A New Approach to Making Connections
for Student Volunteers and Individuals with Aphasia
Jennifer Truong, California State University East Bay
Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, California State University East Bay

Making Art Gallery Tours More Accessible to People with Aphasia: A Pilot Study
Brent Archer, Bowling Green State University
Makayla Morgan, Bowling Green State University
Jackie Davis-Zychowicz, Bowling Green State University; DaZy Aphasia Center
Karen Lee Brackenbury, Bowling Green State University

Aphasia-Friendly Readings: Responsive Reading for Couples
Erin O’Bryan, Wichita State University
Addison Powell, Wichita State University
Daphne Keese, Wichita State University
Breanna Recker, Wichita State University

Postcrossing: Applying LPAA Principles to Foster International Connections and Local Contributions
Carin Keyes, Chippewa Valley Aphasia Network
Tom Sather, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Mary Beth Clark, Chippewa Valley Aphasia Network; Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire 
Michele Knutson, Chippewa Valley Aphasia Network; Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire
Jerry Hoepner, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

1:30 PM – 1:50 PM – Wrap up & Lessons Learned

1:50 PM – 2:00 PM – Conclusion & Good-Byes

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Informal Conversations in Gather.town

We are pleased that the Summit will offer up to .95 ASHA CE.

Attendees who track their CE directly with ASHA will do so by completing an attestation form. Certificates of participation will be available for those who track their CE
or would like one for any other purpose.

CE will be available in the following increments: attending Monday-Thursday’s programming, attending Friday-Saturday’s program, or attending the entire Summit.

A link to access the CE form will be made available to all those who complete the post Summit evaluation that you will receive via email after the last session.

A Special Thanks to our Summit Sponsors

Keynote Sponsors

Holland Award Sponsor

Awards Sponsor

Innovator Award Sponsor

In Kind Sponsor

General Sponsor

General Sponsor

General Sponsor