Young Client Gets His 'Sparkle" Back at Aphasia House
5 - Number of faculty members receiving FLASHA's "Honors of the Association Award" (statewide)
248 - Number of bachelor's degrees awarded in 2015-16
81 - Number of master's degrees awarded in 2015-16
~2,000 - Number of clients served by the Communication Disorders Clinic in 2015-16
11 - Number of faculty members who are fellows of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida P.O. Box 162215 4364 Scorpius Drive Orlando, FL 32816-2215
Young Client Gets His 'Sparkle' Back at Aphasia House
Monday, January 23, 2017
Clinicians at Aphasia
House, a program of the Department of Communications Sciences
and Disorders, offer intense, innovative therapy to individuals
with aphasia, or the loss of speech resulting from neurologic
injury. Among the Aphasia House clients who have had a
remarkable outcome is Wade Cole, a relatively young stroke
Stephanie and Wade Cole
When Wade Cole, a college honors student, called his mother,
Stephanie, on that cold morning in January 2015 to tell her that
his headache was back, she knew something was terribly wrong.
"Wade told me the pain was excruciating," Stephanie said. She
noticed other clues as she spoke with him, she said, like his
speech pattern had taken on an abnormal "rhythmic" tone.
At the time, Wade, a tall, healthy, straight-A student at East
Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., was a double
major in math and philosophy. He had completed his prerequisites
for medical school. Wade was more than just book-smart,
though: He also inherited his mother's love of music and is an
As she continued to talk with her son, Stephanie credits her
deep religious faith for her next actions. From somewhere within
her, she had one clear thought: "He is having a seizure or
something." She knew that every second mattered for her
Stephanie, who works in the admissions office at the medical
school at ETSU, then handed her phone to a colleague and told her
to stay on the line with Wade while she dialed 911. Once Stephanie
was assured that help was on the way, she then called a cousin who
lived nearby and told her to "get to my house and kick in the
door." She didn't want the EMTs to waste precious seconds getting
to her son.
Because of her quick thinking, the paramedics got Wade to a
hospital within the hour. "It took a while for the doctors to come
out," Stephanie recalled. "I knew something was real bad wrong."
Wade has made great strides in regaining
his voice. Click here
to hear Wade sing one of his favorite songs, "Amazing
doctors told Stephanie that Wade had suffered a "severe brain
bleed," or hemorrhagic stroke, as the result of a ruptured brain
aneurysm. This occurs when a blood vessel in or around the brain
bursts, causing bleeding within or on the surface of the brain.
The news was grim. Stephanie felt herself "losing control" of
her body as Wade's physicians began outlining the plan to save his
life. Still, she had the presence of mind to tell the hospital
staff, "Don't worry about me; just take care of my son."
And as Stephanie's large, extended family joined her at the
hospital and they held vigil for Wade, she assured them, saying,
"God's got this. I'm going to trust Him, what we need to do is
The past two years have been grueling for Wade and his family,
which also includes Wade's father, Robert, and his younger brother,
Luke. When Wade's condition stabilized enough for him to begin
therapy, Stephanie accompanied her son to a rehabilitation hospital
in Atlanta, where they worked on his speech, occupational and
physical therapy, and music therapy.
Music therapy is typically part of any rehabilitation milieu,
but for Wade and Stephanie, it's much more than that, it is part of
their lives. "Wade's a big ham," Stephanie said. His interest in
music really took off in high school, and in college he was a
member of the elite "Twelve Bucs Worth" singing group and was
selected as a member of the Appalachian Men's Ensemble.
Because Stephanie had heard that the "musical" portion of the
brain is in the right hemisphere, and Wade's stroke had affected
the left hemisphere, she was hopeful that his musical ability had
remained intact. "I didn't know how it was going to go," Stephanie
said. But every day, she took her guitar and sang to him as he went
When Wade and his mother came home in July 2015, Stephanie began
researching intensive speech therapy programs. And again, as she
prayed for guidance, she had a clear direction from a person she
met at a health career fair in Tennessee. The person, who was in
the health care field, told her the top person in aphasia was Janet
For the past six years, clinicians at Aphasia House, a program
of the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, have
offered intense, innovative therapy to individuals with aphasia, or
the loss of speech resulting from neurologic injury. Aphasia House,
founded and directed by Janet Whiteside, Ph.D. has had remarkable
outcomes for the people who go through its intensive, six-week
Whiteside and the graduate clinicians at Aphasia House were not
deterred that it had been nearly two years since he had suffered
his brain injury. Because of their proven educational methods, and
access to state-of-the-art augmentative and alternative
communication devices, some people continue to improve over a
period of years and even decades.
Whiteside evaluated Wade for three hours to determine if the
intensive therapy at Aphasia House would be beneficial to him.
Stephanie said one of the first things that she noticed about the
clinic, with its cozy, homelike treatment rooms and friendly staff,
was the "passion and hope" that emanated from Whiteside.
Clients who are accepted into the program receive six weeks of
therapy, Monday through Thursday. Optional additional therapy is
offered on Fridays. At the end of each six-week program, Whiteside
and her staff host a "graduation" ceremony for their clients.
On this particular day, the graduation ceremony took place two
days before Thanksgiving, so the celebration took on a particularly
"They all love what they do," Stephanie said, of the staff at
Aphasia House. "You feel like part of the family. Thank you for
restoring hope to our family and helping Wade get the sparkle back
in his eyes."
Written by Camille Murawski
Share and Enjoy:
NSSLHA gives me the opportunity to connect with young professionals who share a similar passion as well as volunteer in our community to promote awareness about disorders and the role of a speech-language pathologist.
— Kristina D'Errico,
president of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association at UCF
Being an SLP-ELL scholar enabled me to gain the knowledge and skills I need to be a better SLP working with English Language Learners. I feel confident in my abilities thanks to the master's program and SLP-ELL grant.
— Amber Suarez ,
M.A. in communication sciences and disorders with a federal grant-funded specialization ('14)
Aphasia House offered me unique therapy not available anywhere in our region.
— Denette Schweikert,
artist, stroke survivor and former Aphasia House client
Aphasia House provided me with a unique and memorable experience where I was able to experience being a clinician, in a real world setting, working with clients and their families.
— Ashley Mignon,
M.A. in communication sciences and disorders ('14)