Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Wonderful World of YDAC

Communication is an important thing and I don't know if people really get that until it becomes a struggle for either themselves or someone within their personal world.

It is quiet obvious I think to most people who know me that I am a fairly shy and quiet individual, I've even written a post about it. (Hello, I'm Shy; And You Are?) Since my illness at a young age I have found communication difficult, making myself understood I don't think always comes across the way I intend, I tend to lose track of words in my head........ I much prefer to write as I can take my time and go over what I'm saying a couple of times before sending it out. But over all, I never gave the frustrations of communication much thought until the year 2001 when my mother fell and hit her head. The result was an acquired brain injury which gave way to an illness known as Aphasia.

Aphasia (from Greek ἀφασία, "speechlessness") is an impairment of language ability. This class of language disorder ranges from having difficulty remembering words to being completely unable to speak, read, or write. Aphasia disorders usually develop quickly as a result of head injury or stroke.

Upon leaving the hospital, my mother was assigned a speech therapist and after about 6 months when she was to leave, she introduced us to the wonderful world of the York Durham Aphasia Centre. They work in cooperation with the Ontario March of Dimes.

The staff and volunteers at YDAC are really some of the most amazing people! I recall the first intake meeting, or interview, to register my mom. We met at our home with one of the Centre's Coordinator's, a Speech Pathologist. What she told me, with her caring words, (I'll never forget and always appreciate) was that the program was as much for me as it was for my mom. OK, maybe the program is more directed at my mom, but I knew what she meant. They not only help the individual afflicted with Aphasia, they also offer assistance to those loved ones that work or live with that individual.

I've been in to the Centre to see what goes on and it all seems not only educational, but fun! They have name tags, group discussions, word games, other games, music, books, healthy living, speech arts, the list goes on. And every person I see there has a smile on his or her face. It's about interacting with your peers and feeling comfortable and belonging. This program is so wonderful to my mom. She has made so many friends and looks forward to it every week. Her speech has improved, yes, but more so, so has her confidence.
As mentioned above, the YDAC is linked to the Ontario March of Dimes, (an organization I plan a separate post for) and a lot of what my mom does within OMOD and throughout her life is thanks to that YDAC confidence; including a speech she presented at a conference in Barrie to a room of more than 200. The speech can be viewed here. I am so proud of her for that!

One of the fundraisers the YDAC does annually is the "Walk & Roll a-thon", and my mom loves it! it is through this I learned how good my mom is at raising funds.  She has no problem asking people to sign her pledge form and fork over cash! LOL!!

This organization has various branches throughout Ontario and any fundraising events they do are well worth it. For them to keep going is important, because what they do is important. They help people with a vital part of society.... communication! And that helps people feel like they belong.

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