A “Thank You” From the Past I first worked with Louie in 1952 on his severe expressive aphasia/oral apraxia. While fighting in Korea, he had fallen on his rifle, discharging a bullet through his left eye that exited through his left parietal lobe. After six months speechless in an Army hospital, he was transferred to the ... First Person on the Last Page
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First Person on the Last Page  |   November 01, 2011
A “Thank You” From the Past
Author Notes
  • Daniel R. Boone, PhD, CCC-SLP, is professor emeritus in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Arizona. He is a past ASHA president and a member of Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders. Contact him at boonvoz@msn.com.
    Daniel R. Boone, PhD, CCC-SLP, is professor emeritus in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Arizona. He is a past ASHA president and a member of Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders. Contact him at boonvoz@msn.com.×
Article Information
Healthcare Settings / ASHA News & Member Stories / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Speech, Voice & Prosody / First Person on the Last Page
First Person on the Last Page   |   November 01, 2011
A “Thank You” From the Past
The ASHA Leader, November 2011, Vol. 16, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.16142011.31
The ASHA Leader, November 2011, Vol. 16, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.16142011.31
I first worked with Louie in 1952 on his severe expressive aphasia/oral apraxia. While fighting in Korea, he had fallen on his rifle, discharging a bullet through his left eye that exited through his left parietal lobe. After six months speechless in an Army hospital, he was transferred to the Aphasia Center at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital in California.
Daniel R. Boone, PhD, CCC-SLP
Louie was assigned to me. On my first visit to see him on the aphasia ward, I asked him to say a simple word like “ball.” He could only awkwardly purse his lips but not produce a word. On imitation, however, he could close his lips and extend a hum. We then found that while humming, if he opened his mouth, a word came out like “ma.” Louie was able to do this and celebrated saying his first word “ma” by repeating it uninterrupted many times.
I then wrote a big “M” on the top of the page in a spiral bound notebook. Within two days, we added 15 words that he could say beginning with “M.” At the bottom of the page, we had a few phrases, such as “many more men.” Thrilled to be able to speak, he practiced continually on the ward. Once one sound was mastered, we would introduce another sound, adding new words in the notebook. Soon, we were able to abandon such a phonetic approach and added real-world phrases and sentences to our speech-practice notebook.
Louie and I worked together for about nine months before I left the Aphasia Center for graduate school. It was 10 years later that I saw Louie again, this time at a national convention where he was on a demonstration panel of people who had made significant recoveries from aphasia. He brought back great memories for me as he talked about our early work to say his first words. At the session break, Louie spotted me walking toward the podium. He came down to meet me and in his left hand was the worn spiral bound notebook, which he had shown the audience. We embraced each other like the long-lost friends that we were as he told me, “I just want to thank you for helping me learn to talk again.” No “thank you” ever meant so much.
E-Luminations: Stories of Success

The success stories of individuals who have overcome communication difficulties showcase how ASHA members are making a profound difference in their clients’ quality of life—sometimes even defying the odds.

Now these individuals have a voice.

A new column featuring first-person client perspectives, E-luminations, will be published in The ASHA Leader beginning in January 2012.

Encourage clients—current or past—to send stories and photos to leader@asha.org.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
November 2011
Volume 16, Issue 14