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Aphasia Tones get top billing at Yosemite

The Aphasia Tones(c) as they performed during a June 2012 concert. (Photo: Barry Zepel)

The Aphasia Tones(c) as they performed during a June 2012 concert. (Photo: Barry Zepel)

  • June 5, 2013 6:00am

Even Carnegie Hall doesn’t present as glorious a site as the one at which The Aphasia Tones©, Cal State East Bay’s chorus made up of persons learning to live with aphasia, are set to perform on June 5.

Try Yosemite National Park.

Aphasia is a communications disorder that most commonly occurs after a stroke. It affects speaking, understanding, reading and writing. Approximately two million Americans are living with the condition.

The National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy, reaching out to make the location welcoming to aphasia survivors, have created the first aphasia-friendly guide to the park. The Aphasia Tones will be performing to help promote the newly published guide, which includes walking tours and notes specific services for persons who have aphasia.

“We’re proud that the Aphasia Tones have been invited by Yosemite to perform in that magnificent setting,” said Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, director of the Aphasia Treatment Program (ATP), which is part of the university’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. “It truly is an historic event to see our national parks improve communicative access with the launching of the new guide.”

CSUEB Professor Emerita Jan Avent, Bernstein-Ellis and their ATP colleagues provided review and feedback to the conservancy and National Park Service as the aphasia-friendly guide was being developed. Bernstein-Ellis noted that the Yosemite Conservancy has provided a grant used to fund the roundtrip travel between Yosemite and CSUEB’s Hayward Campus for the singers, all 46 ATP clients and staff members.

The June 5 program at which the Aphasia Tones will be performing begins at noon and takes place at the Yosemite Lodge. In addition to their singing, the chorus members and their guests will be escorted on a walking tour of the park.

Cal State East Bay’s Aphasia Treatment Program was founded in 1996 by Avent. In addition to speech and language treatment, the program includes communicative discussion groups and a book club among many other activities. Bernstein-Ellis developed the Aphasia Tones in 2009.


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