400 - Minimum number of clock hours of supervised clinical experience required of master's degree students
~2,000 - Number of children and adults served by clinical educators and students in 2015-16
~700 - Number of preschool children screened for communication disorders in 2015-16
$35,000 - Donation made by Orlando Magic player Victor Oladipo to support the UCF Listening Center's mission
10 - Number of counties served by FAAST's Atlantic Region Assistive Technology Demonstration Center
Communication Disorders Clinic
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida 3280 Progress Drive Suites 500, 300 Orlando, FL 32826-2215
Surviving a Tsunami - Carlos' Story
Friday, April 21, 2017
video taken on Carlos Caram Dallapiccola's first day at the
University of Central Florida's Aphasia House, his limited verbal
speech is punctuated by the word, "Disculpa." Aphasia House is an
intensive outpatient therapy program for individuals with aphasia.
Dallapiccola is Aphasia House's third international client - he is
from Brazil - and the word he kept saying meant "Sorry."
Before Dallapiccola had a massive stroke in 2011, he had a
successful business in international education that promoted study
programs for adults, teenagers and children in various countries.
Through the years, his company - which also included his wife
Daniela - had placed more than 2,000 students in programs outside
It was a career he enjoyed because it relied heavily on his
exceptional interpersonal, organizational and creative abilities.
In his spare time, Dallipiccola enjoyed spending time with Daniela
and their three sons.
They had a full life.
Until, Dallipiccola said, the "tsunami of aphasia" washed it all
away. The greatest irony, perhaps, is that Dallipiccola, bilingual
in Portuguese and English and highly sought after for his skills as
an interpreter, has been robbed of his voice. He doesn't "look"
different. His warm, brown eyes still sparkle when he meets a
guest, and he uses gestures to emphasize his point, along with his
handwritten block letters on white paper.
A stroke happens when interrupted blood flow to the brain
results in cell death, and for a time after his stroke,
Dallipiccola's family worried that he would die. He recovered 70
percent of his motor skills, he said, and his intellectual
abilities are "almost intact," but he acknowledged his serious
limitations due to the loss of his speech.
In the past five years, Dallipiccola exhausted the therapy
options that were available in Brazil, and used email and the
internet, his lifelines to the outside world, where he discovered
Janet Whiteside, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Aphasia
House, which opened in 2010. It was the culmination of a dream that
began when she was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in
1974, and she had the idea that people with communication
disorders, like stroke survivors, would benefit from therapy in a
more natural, homelike setting.
At Aphasia House, clients can receive their therapy in the
"Garage," "Den," "Garden Room," "Kitchen," or the "Game Room." The
rooms are stocked with familiar items and comfortable seating where
clients and their families can learn the best ways to maximize
their communication with their friends, family and the outside
In his emails to Aphasia House, Dallapiccola was clearly looking
for help for his aphasia. He knew that he would have to leave his
family behind to concentrate on regaining his voice. That, he said,
was the key to gaining some semblance of his old life back.
After showing a visitor copies of his old emails, Dallipiccola
proudly showed a visitor a new video of himself. This time, he
said, quite clearly, "I love you, Dani!" His wife and children have
not yet been able to travel from Brazil to visit Dallipiccola at
Aphasia House. Dallipiccola's therapy was covered, in part, by a
private foundation that works closely with Aphasia House.
Dallipiccola still has hurdles to overcome. Five years of
dealing with aphasia and apraxia (a motor disorder that also
affects speech) have caused him and his family to have some low
points, but he tries to remain positive. "I am tough," he writes,
"But I am not a machine!"
He used to feel as though he were "stuck in a maze with no
exit." But now, the compassionate graduate clinicians and educators
at Aphasia House have given him hope. "Dr. Whiteside is an angel,"
Dallipiccola wrote, and underlined the word "angel" twice.
By Camille Murawski '98
Share and Enjoy:
[The clinicians] really pay attention to the patient's needs.
— Spouse of "Jeff",
a stroke survivor
The clinic has helped him with reading comprehension and math problems. We've been very happy with the program.
— Mother of "Christopher",
a child diagnosed with a language delay at age four
As a caregiver, the [clinic's impact] has been tremendous.