BU students provide help for aphasia patients

Starting Feb. 14, Butler’s communication sciences and disorders department will host aphasia patients for treatment.
Dr. Mary Gospel, senior clinical faculty in communications, has treated aphasia patients with Butler students in Carmel for years but has wanted to bring the treatment to Butler’s campus.
“It’s a great opportunity for patients whose insurance has run out or who cannot afford expensive treatment,” Gospel said, “and also for students to understand aphasia and interact with patients.”
Aphasia is a language disorder that typically occurs after a stroke, brain injury, tumor or some cancers.
Senior students enrolled in Gospel’s aphasia center practicum this semester will be hosting aphasia patients for communication and conversation groups, as well as other activities such as art, exercise and music on Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall room 084.
The treatment will cost patients $50 per semester, whereas traditional treatment costs roughly $200 per hour, Gospel said.
“We would still take a patient who cannot pay,” Gospel said. “We are trying like crazy to keep the cost at close to nothing.”
Jenny Green, senior CSD major, is currently enrolled in Gospel’s class. Green said she is looking forward to the class and the hands-on experience that she will gain.
“I am very excited about this class and to learn more about working with aphasia clients,” Green said. “This is different from other CSD classes I have taken because we get to apply material we have learned to actual clients.”
Junior CSD major Mollie Dolan has worked with aphasia patients firsthand alongside Gospel at her treatment sessions in Carmel. Dolan said her experience was impactful enough to make her reconsider future career paths.
“When I entered CSD, I thought I wanted to work with children in a school setting,” Dolan said. “After visiting the aphasia group, I am now considering aphasia patients as my main focus.”
Gospel said she believes the program will be a win-win for all involved.
“There is no downside from any angle,” Gospel said. “The university doesn’t have to pay for anything, students gain credit and real life experience and the community is assisted as well.”
Dolan said she, as well as other CSD students, are thankful for the program.
“A lot of undergraduate CSD programs don’t have opportunities like this,” Dolan said. “It gives us a chance to explore our major while also helping aphasia patients.
Those interested may contact Gospel at mgospel@butler.edu. All varying degrees of aphasia patients may apply.


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