WMU News

Aphasia treatment in spotlight during WMU conference

Sept. 15, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Three internationally known authorities on aphasia will explore new therapies in treating the loss of the ability to speak and articulate thoughts during the 23rd Annual Van Riper Lectures in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Sept. 22 and 23 at Western Michigan University.

Held at the John E. Fetzer Center, the lectures will address "Aphasia Treatment: Biological, Psychological and Social Perspectives." The sessions will feature Dr. Sally Byng, chief executive of Connect, a nationwide non-profit organization in the United Kingdom; Dr. Leslie Gonzalez-Rothi, founder and program director of the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence at Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla.; and Dr. Steven L. Small, associate professor of Neurology and co-director of the Brain Research Imaging Center at the University of Chicago.

Byng's organization works to promote effective services, new opportunities and better quality of life for people with stroke and aphasia. The therapy, research and educational programs are influencing changes in speech-language pathology practices throughout England, Europe and the United States. In 1991, she received the honors of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for her contribution to research in speech and language therapy. She recently received the Order of the British Empire for her services to speech and language therapy from Her Majesty the Queen.

In addition to serving as the brain rehabilitation research center's program director, Gonzalez-Rothi, is a professor neurology, clinical and health psychology and communication processes and disorders at the University of Florida. She has received special honors from a variety of professional associations including the American Psychological Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences.

Small has published widely in the areas of cognitive science and neuroscience of language and hand motor skills. His current research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to study the basic neurobiology of language and hand motor function and the rehabilitation of aphasia and hand motor disfunction after stroke.

The two-day conference will present recent progress and future directions for aphasia therapy. The lectures will focus on examining the research evidence for treatment of aphasia from the biological, psychological and social perspectives and how to apply new discoveries about brain recovery and rehabilitation to communication treatment for people living with aphasia and their families.

The Van Riper Lectures are named in honor of the late Dr. Charles G. Van Riper, who was instrumental in establishing the WMU Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, which sponsors the annual event.

Onsite registration for the event is $175. Special rates are available for students, and arrangements may be made to receive continuing education units through the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

For more information, contact Paula Armstrong at paula.armstrong@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8045.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400