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Rosemarie’s Story - No Longer Silenced!

Rosemarie Park suffered a stroke 12 years ago. While recovering, a condition known as aphasia limited her ability to speak. She was only able to say “coffee cup” for the first year and a half following her stroke.

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to use language. Aphasia can affect the ability to speak and understand others, as well as cause difficulty with reading and writing.

Commonly, people recovering from a stroke see the most progress during the six-month period after the stroke occurs. However, the staff in Siskin Hospital's Speech-Language Pathology Department have found that individuals with aphasia can still benefit from support after formal therapy ends. The staff created a Communication Skills Group that meets at the Siskin Health & Fitness Center every Wednesday. This group offers an opportunity to receive additional services for conversation skills and continued progress through engaging activities.

Rosemarie and her husband, Walter, are both former patients of Siskin Hospital, as well as Fitness Center members. Rosemarie and Walter’s lives were forever changed when they learned of the Communication Skills Group. Rosemarie's ability to speak, lost 12 years ago, would finally be regained. 

“This is unbelievable!," says Walter. "I’ve never seen anything quite like it. To see the result of several aphasic people together, communicating and participating with one another - it’s remarkable! What a life-enhancing gift this team has created for my wife and all the participants in this concept class.”

Walter says the Communication Skills Group has dramataically changed Rosemarie’s social life. Before, she would verbally participate in a limited fashion and be mostly an observer and listener. After just a few months' attendance, however, Rosemarie now jumps right into the fray with enthusiasm and confidence.

"Unbelievable!" says Walter. "Quite possibly, Siskin Hospital has created a monster - of the very best kind!”

“Speech is everything," says Rosemarie. "I’ve enjoyed it so much . . . it’s wonderful!”

To learn more about the Communication Skills Group, please call 423.634.1689 or email