We aim to empower people with aphasia and their caregivers to improve their quality of life by providing enrichment activities, education, resources, and non-judgmental forums for communication. Based on the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA), we value social engagement, individual needs, and self-empowerment.
We seek to create a local social support network connecting affected families to each other, and to volunteers and professionals. We host free social support groups, conversation groups, group outings, and potlucks, and provide assistance in locating resources in your area.
Founder & President, Ellen Clarke
In the fall of 2014, Ellen conceptualized a non-profit organization providing wraparound services to families affected by aphasia and living in traditionally underserved areas of Chicago. These ideas grew from her time in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Northwestern University. For her masters thesis, Ellen studied stroke lesions and blood flow in the brain and their ability to predict language improvement in chronic aphasia. Ellen also delivered language treatment and conducted diagnostic language and cognitive evaluations. In particular, Ellen's experience leading the Northwestern Aphasia Support Group for four years inspired her to do even more for families affected by aphasia. Ellen aims to inspire a sense of hope, a-bility, and empowerment in individuals affected by aphasia. She also enjoys camping, swimming, and biking around Chicago.
Vice President and Public Relations, Marissa Artman
Marissa is the owner of a local private practice speech pathology clinic called Second City Speech, where she emphasizes making lasting connections with clients and building on their strengths. She and Ellen met in the spring of 2015 with a plan to create a brand new, inclusive support group for people in Chicago with aphasia. Specifically, they wanted to focus on people may not have access to the resources offered by the major hospital networks and universities. Marissa's experience in evaluating and treating individuals with aphasia has given her insight into just how important a sense of community and support networks can be post-diagnosis. Marissa hopes to give back to her community in a meaningful way through her work with CAN. In her spare time, Marissa enjoys trying out Chicago's food scene and playing with her dog, Petri.
Advisor, Dan Goffman
I had a stroke in 2006. I have aphasia. I could not speak, read, or write very well. Before my stroke, I worked at DePaul University as chairman of the History Department for three years. Since then, I have not been able to work at DePaul anymore and am retired. I have been going to Northwestern University for nine years, struggling to get my speaking going again. I realized that north Chicago has an aphasia support group; however, there is no support group for the south or west sides of Chicago. I think my experience as the chairman of a history department and my own experience having aphasia should be beneficial for starting a south and west side support group.