Jackie Davis-Zychowicz, the founder of the DaZy Aphasia Centre in the College of Health and Human Services, is being honored for her efforts in aphasia education with the Voices of Hope for Aphasia Founder’s Award.
She received the honor at a gala in Florida Sept. 30.According to Voices of Hope for Aphasia, the Founder’s Award is intended to recognize people who have made extraordinary contributions to understanding the communication disorder by fostering success in groups, helping family and friends, or educating the community about aphasia.
“I am honored and speechless,” Davis-Zychowicz said. “I accepted the award for all northwestern Ohio area people with Aphasia and their families and friends.”
After suffering from a stroke 11 years ago, Davis-Zychowicz started a support group with her husband, Frank, and Melodie Dregansky for people with aphasia. This support group led to the opening of the DaZy Aphasia Centre in 2007 and eventually its relocation to The University of Toledo Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, which is in the Health and Human Services Building on Main Campus.
Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language, typically in the left half of the brain. Individuals who experience damage to the right side of the brain may have additional difficulties beyond speech and language issues. Aphasia may cause difficulties in speaking, listening, reading and writing, but does not affect intelligence.
According to the National Aphasia Association, about 25 percent to 40 percent of people who survive a stroke get the disorder.
“The DaZy Aphasia Centre is a place where people with aphasia can come and feel safe while learning to be able to communicate again,” Davis-Zychowicz said. “We are a family, and you will always feel accepted.”
In addition to housing the DaZy Aphasia Centre, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic offers several programs, including audiology services and preschool services for children with communication and learning problems.
Since opening in 2007, the DaZy Aphasia Centre has helped more than 65 families of persons suffering from the disorder.
“It’s Jackie who has come forward for those who want to do something but are too scared,” Frank Zychowicz, UT alumnus, said.
“I am so proud of the support that we have given both the person with aphasia and their family and friends. Isolation is a very real problem following a diagnosis of aphasia. I see the progress of the members, using their talents and their communication tools,” Davis-Zychowicz said. “Our center gives them new connections with people that understand what they are going through.”
The DaZy Aphasia Centre offers individual sessions, group sessions and other activities, including music therapy.
For more information about the DaZy Aphasia Centre, contact Michael Dillon, clinical program supervisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.