ROME, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A little more than a dozen aphasia sufferers and their families are spending a weekend away, thanks to the vision of a daughter who wanted to help people like her father.
The 2nd annual Andre R. Hemond aphasia retreat is being held at Pine Tree Camp this weekend. Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that often comes on after a stroke. People with aphasia haven't lost any of their ability to think or reason, but they have trouble speaking, reading, writing, and sometimes understanding language.
Hemond was a former french teacher, counselor, and South Portland high school principal when he had a stroke in 2005. He went from being someone who communicated for a living, to someone who could no longer speak intelligibly, read or write.
His daughter, Annemarie Albiston, said, "If a nurse came in and asked him, he couldn't answer the questions."
Albiston, and her husband, Bruce, soon found that many doctors didn't understand aphasia, and they have been working ever since to raise awareness, as well as improve the quality of life of people with the condition. People with aphasia often do regain the ability to speak, but it takes a long time, and most are not able to communicate the way they had in the past.
The Albistons want to start a center for people with aphasia and their families. But in the meantime, they worked with Pine Tree Camp and the New England Rehabilitation Hospital to set up this weekend's retreat. Pine Tree Camp is a place where people with all kinds of disabilities can engage in adaptive sports and other activities on North Pond in Rome.
During the weekend, people at the camp will learn more about new communication strategies and tools while they take advantage of the recreational opportunities.
You can learn more about aphasia by clicking here.