News Release

Callier Center for Communication Disorders
For immediate release

News contacts:

Jenni Bullington, UTD
(972) 883-4431
[email protected]


UTD’s Callier Center Receives Grant To Help
South Dallasites Afflicted With Aphasia

Harold Simmons Foundation Providing Seed Money for New Program

RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 1, 2001) - The Harold Simmons Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to The University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders for the development of the South Dallas Communication Groups Program, a start-up project that will provide group language therapy to the primarily minority population in South Dallas afflicted with aphasia.

Aphasia, an impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words - usually acquired as a result of a stroke or other brain injury - can affect reading and writing as well as speaking.

African Americans are particularly prone to aphasia because of a higher incidence of diabetes and hypertension, which ultimately can result in stroke.

The program, which will be led by speech pathologist Molly Keebler, was developed in collaboration with community leaders and churches in South Dallas and Oak Cliff. No such communication therapy program currently is available in that area, and no other group of this type is thought to exist to address the specific needs of members of the African American community who are affected by aphasia.

The primary goal of the program is to provide ongoing therapy for people with long-term aphasia to improve their functional communication skills in everyday life.

State-licensed, nationally certified speech-language pathologists will lead the participants in sessions designed to help them improve talking and understanding skills, increase connections with others, offer new ways to improve speech, find understanding and support, decrease social isolation, make new friends and improve self-esteem. The sessions are expected to be of particular benefit to those who received little or no rehabilitation after their stroke.

The program in its current state grew out of an earlier grant that The Callier Center’s Dr. Hanna Ulatowska received from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Ulatowska’s grant was used to fund a five-year discourse study that included more than 150 African Americans and Caucasians with and without aphasia. Ulatowska, a professor and researcher who focuses much of her studies on African Americans with aphasia, is a mentor to Keebler who helped guide her in the development of Keebler’s program.

“Too many people receive inadequate therapy following a stroke,” explained Keebler. “By creating therapy groups at local churches throughout South Dallas, we hope to increase awareness about aphasia and provide those affected by this condition with the skills they need to resume their lives.”

“We are pleased that the Harold Simmons Foundation has recognized the importance of the work being done at Callier Center,” said Dr. Bert S. Moore, dean of the School of Human Development at UTD. “By providing program funding, the foundation has afforded Molly and others the opportunity to explore treatment options, which could bring us to a greater understanding of aphasia’s affect on the African American community.”

In addition to providing communication therapy, the program will help develop and provide multicultural clinical and practical training opportunities for UTD/Callier Center graduate students in communication disorders. The students, who in the spring 2002 semester will assist in the therapy groups, will learn appropriate service provision strategies for working with minority clients.

The Callier Center provided an additional $12,500 in matching funds for the program. Further funding for the program - as much as $38,000 - is anticipated. The program will not be self-sustaining, and, as a result, fund raising will be conducted on an ongoing basis to keep the program operational.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s Web site at .

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This page last updated
June 13, 2002