Thank you everyone for attending the 13th Australian Aphasia Association National Conference in 2021  

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Deborah Hersh

Associate Professor Deborah Hersh is the current Chairperson of the Australian Aphasia Association (AAA) and is a Fellow of Speech Pathology Australia. She works for Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, teaching speech pathology students and doing research. Deborah worked as a speech pathologist in London and Adelaide for 15 years. She developed the Talkback Aphasia Groups in 1995 and established the Talkback Association in South Australia in 1999 (the first incorporated aphasia organisation in Australia). Deborah has been involved with the AAA from its beginning is passionate about aphasia groups and bringing people with aphasia and their families together. She is recognised nationally and internationally for her research publications on aphasia assessment, goal setting, and discharge from therapy.

Maitland Aphasia Community Group 

The Maitland aphasia group was founded in 2010. The group meets every Friday at Maitland Neighbourhood Centre, Rutherford, NSW. It offers support to people with aphasia. The group is the only one of its kind in the area.

Miranda Rose

Professor Miranda Rose is a Principal Research Fellow at La Trobe University in Melbourne and Director of the national, NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation. Miranda has over 20 years of research and leadership experience in acquired neurological communication disability and her research spans interventions aimed at reducing communication disability and programs to assist people to live well with aphasia. She has led and contributed to large scale clinical trials of aphasia interventions including  COMPARE, ASK and VERSE. Miranda directs a team exploring the efficacy and proliferation of high quality community aphasia groups in Australia (and leads a new, novel technology enabled rehabilitation and support program for people after discharge from hospital and community rehabilitation care (Communication Connect). Miranda leads the Treatment Effectiveness working group of the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists based in the UK.

Paul Fink

Paul Fink is lucky to be alive. His family was nearly torn apart when – aged just 34, he suffered a massive stroke. He was in a coma for two weeks, endured four brain surgeries and his family were told numerous times that the outcome was extremely poor. However, against all odds he managed to wake up from his coma, but finding himself, paralysed and unable to communicate. 

Seven years on and Paul is making the most of his new lease on life. He started a blog for other stroke survivors, he had a second child, he climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is volunteering at the Stroke Foundation and learning to run. Paul considers this his stroke of luck. A second chance to make a difference. He is now committed to sharing his story, inspiring others while raising awareness of strokes, particularly in younger people. 

Emma Beesley

Emma Beesley had a stroke in September 2016. She was 33, a Lawyer working as a Judicial Associate in the Family Court of Australia. After her stroke she left with right sided hemiplegia and Aphasia. Lack of knowledge and information about Aphasia given initially to Emma and her family after her stroke has shaped her determination to advocate for greater Aphasia awareness in the wider community. Emma has presented at the Aphasia NSW conference in 2018; spoken to speech pathology students at Newcastle University; featured in an SBS documentary on The Feed; and spoken to many local community groups like Rotary and Toastmasters. She is a Finalist for the Stroke Foundation Courage awards for 2021 and a participant in the Young Stroke Project. Since 2020 she has been a member of a Research Partners advisory group for the La Trobe University CRE. In February she enjoyed 3 days at the inaugural AAA aphasia camp on the Gold Coast, and is the President of the Maitland Aphasia Communication Group. 

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