• Blog
  • 2010
  • New Aphasia House Offers Innovative Therapy in a Home-Like Setting
Text Size:
Print This Page

New Aphasia House Offers Innovative Therapy in a Home-Like Setting

Click image to enlarge View SlideShow

By Karen Guin

A new facility dedicated solely to innovative therapy for individuals with aphasia, or the loss of speech resulting from neurologic injury, has been established at the University of Central Florida with an anonymous $25,000 donation.

The Aphasia House provides speech-language therapy in a setting distinct from a typical medical office. Each room is outfitted to resemble a familiar space in a home, including a kitchen, garden patio and garage. The rooms are designed to encourage natural conversations. UCF graduate students studying communication sciences and disorders provide individualized and group therapy under the supervision of certified clinical faculty.

This is the only intensive program for persons with aphasia in the Central Florida area.

Approximately one million people in the United States, or one out of every 275 adults, have some type of aphasia, according to the National Aphasia Association. The most common cause is a stroke.

The facility is a dream-come-true for its director, Janet Whiteside, a clinical educator at UCF and Chair of the Board of Clinical Educators at the UCF Communication Disorders Clinic. Whiteside is an expert in her field. She received the 2010 Honors of the Association Award from the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Director Janet Whiteside makes notes while monitoring therapy sessions.

"As a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, I saw how effective the use of a home environment was during therapy for children who were deaf or hard of hearing," Whiteside recalled. "I've always wanted to create that type of environment for clients with aphasia."

She is equally pleased that The Aphasia House is also an educational facility, where students gain experience implementing cutting-edge therapies for the condition. It is conveniently located in the Central Florida Research Park's Research Pavilion. The UCF Communication Disorders Clinic is housed in the same building.

Thanks to the donation, Whiteside brought the first group of clients to the house this summer. Four individuals with aphasia resulting from either a stroke or brain injury are participating in a six-week Intensive Aphasia Program from June 21 to July 29.

Research has shown that personalized intensive therapy is especially effective in treating aphasia, so each client spends four hours a day, four days a week working directly with one or more student clinicians. The goal of the program is to increase the clients' communication skills.

Whiteside closely monitors the therapy sessions, noting the clients' progress and ways to adjust the therapies, which she shares with the students. She and the students also keep the clients and their family members well-informed by providing them with a copy of the protocol and explaining what is being done and why.

Clients sign in when they enter the house's living room.

The Intensive Aphasia Program will be conducted six times a year in The Aphasia House. Whiteside is currently interviewing stroke survivors for the next session, which runs from Aug. 30 to Oct. 8. Treatment is not free, but the facility takes Medicare and will work with participants to fill out the paperwork for reimbursement.

The donation will help pay for running the intensive programs, education for those working at The Aphasia House and consultation with experts "to help us become the premier facility of its kind in the nation," Whiteside said.

Those interested in learning more about the program at The Aphasia House may call 407-882-0468 or email for more information.

Share and Enjoy:

Mentioned : Janet Whiteside
Tags :


The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
Give a Gift - The College of Healh & Public Affairs