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Course Description

This course shared lessons learned from how COVID-19 changed the future of aphasia support programs and how the aphasia community came together to overcome the forced isolation by providing online support to individuals with aphasia and their families worldwide. We provided a snapshot of how Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC) and Lingraphica collaborated to develop a virtual aphasia program.

Course Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

      • Describe how Virtual Connections is meeting the needs of people with aphasia and their families worldwide.
      • Identify examples of aphasia support programs that were transitioned to online platforms.
      • Describe at least two lessons learned from providing virtual support to people with aphasia and their families in response to COVID-19

Meet the Presenters

Carol Dow-Richards, B.S.

Carol Dow-Richards is the Founding Director of Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC) an award-winning nonprofit organization that partners with Lingraphica for Virtual Connections.  She facilitates Facebook’s largest online support with over 10,500 members, a caregiver group, Virtual Connections Open Chats, and a support group in Las Vegas.  She’s an author, speaker, and has appeared on Good Morning America, The Doctors, and in People Magazine.   She is an award-winning advocate including the Point of Light and RAISE Award.  She has been a caregiver to her son David, her mom, and her dad – all stroke survivors.

Relevant Financial Relationships: Carol is a support group facilitator, Dignity Health, Las Vegas; Receives income as Director of The Aphasia Recovery Connection; Receives royalties from ARC’s Guide to Living with Aphasia: Practical Advice for People with Aphasia & Their Loved Ones 

Relevant Non-Financial Relationships: No relevant non-financial relationships exist


Brianne A. Bieger, SLPD, CCC-SLP, ATP 

Dr. Brianne Bieger joined Lingraphica in 2011 and is the Customer Experience and Engagement Manager. She has dedicated most of her career working with families living with aphasia and AAC. Brianne has been providing speech and language services via tele-practice since 2015. She has been an active volunteer for the non-profit organization Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC) since 2014 and a member of their Advisory Board since 2019. Brianne received her B.A. and M.A from Hofstra University and her clinical doctorate in speech (SLPD) from Nova Southeastern University.

Relevant Financial Relationships: Dr. Bieger receives a salary for employment as Customer Experience and Engagement Manager at Lingraphica.

Relevant Non-Financial Relationships: Dr. Bieger is a volunteer and Advisory Board Member for The Aphasia Recovery Connection, a 501(c)3


Katie Strong, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Katie Strong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Central Michigan University. She leads the Strong Story Lab where her research explores how therapists can support people with aphasia and TBI rebuild their identity by co-constructing stories about who they were, are, and want to be. Katie is a Tavistock Trust for Aphasia Distinguished Scholar, a founding member of the Lansing Area Aphasia Support Group, and on the Virtual Connections for Aphasia leadership team. She is the owner of Strong Speech Consulting, Inc. and a regular host of the Aphasia Access Conversations Podcast.

Relevant Financial Relationships: Dr. Strong receives salary for employment as an Assistant Professor at Central Michigan University  

Relevant Non-Financial Relationships: Dr. Strong facilitates the Lansing Area Aphasia Support Group; University Liaison for Virtual Connections for Aphasia 


Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, M.A., CCC-SLP

Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, Director of the Aphasia Treatment Program at CSUEB since 2009, developed the Aphasia Tones choir and partnered with the National Park Service to improve communicative access by developing aphasia-friendly materials. Her area of focus has included group treatment of aphasia, aphasia book clubs, aphasia choirs, life participation approach to aphasia, communicative access and aphasia awareness.  She is an active member of Aphasia Access where she co-chairs the Aphasia Conversations podcast project.

Relevant Financial Relationships: Ellen receives salary for employment as Director of the Aphasia Treatment Program at Cal State East Bay 

Relevant Non-Financial Relationships: Ellen is a volunteer Facilitator for Virtual Connections; Volunteer for Aphasia Access as Podcast Committee Co-chair 


Lindsay Milgram, M.S., CCC-SLP 

Lindsay Milgram is a Clinical Instructor and the Diagnostics Coordinator at the Mysak Clinic for Communication Disorders at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a Lingraphica Certified Consultant and educates graduate clinicians on executing AAC evaluations, including device trials, and providing therapeutic services to promote functional communication across environments. Lindsay is also the founding Director of CommuniCamp, a mini-camp for children who use AAC, and CommuniClub, a social group for families who use AAC.

Relevant Financial Relationships:  Lindsay receives a salary for employment as a Clinical Instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Relevant Non-Financial Relationships: No relevant non-financial relationships exist


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