by Matt Fong, Speech Pathologist at Independent Rehabilitation Services.
From the 21st to the 23rd of February, 2022, I had the privilege of volunteering at the second ever Aphasia Camp held in Australia.
This camp was held on the Gold Coast and it was attended by people with aphasia, their caregivers, student speech pathologists and speech pathologists, from both local and interstate areas. The 3-day camp aimed to help people with aphasia to live well, develop their confidence and to meet and form connections with others who understand what it’s like to have aphasia.
Some of the activities on the camp included mindfulness and exercise classes, art therapy, and technology workshops – where individuals were given the opportunity to try out the latest iPad apps and communication devices. Most importantly, there were plenty of opportunities for social connection and developing friendships.
Given that aphasia impacts on a person’s ability to communicate, it was truly amazing to see everyone enjoying each other’s company and meet up informally for breakfast and dinner before and after the camp’s scheduled activities.
Whether it was having a conversation using just hand gestures or bonding over the fact that a false fire alarm woke everyone up at 4am on the last day of camp, it seemed that everyone left the camp with happy memories and their hearts full!
With many of our clients feeling isolated and wanting social connection in these last few years particularly, it seems fitting that a camp would be the best way to bring people together. My hope is that one day (in the not too distant future!) we will be able to develop a camp as a service delivery option at IRS, and host Melbourne’s very first camp program for individuals with an acquired brain injury.
Find out more about our Parkinson’s Disease Speech Pathology Program.
See how to send a referral for speech pathology.