New Bill Monitors the Prevalence of Aphasia in NJ
NJ Senate Majority Leader, Loretta Weinberg, explains why she introduced the bill, the "Mike Adler Aphasia Task Force,”signed into law in May 2017. This task force monitors the prevalence of aphasia in the state, looks at the unmet needs, generates resources for those people, and makes recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV studio here in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. We're pleased to welcome, once again, State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from the Bergen County area. She is the Senate Majority Leader. Good to see you senator. Thank you Steve. It's good to be here. Let's talk about a range of issues, but the first one I want to talk about is one that does not get a lot of attention but impacts so many people. Aphasia. Tell folks what it is, tell folks why it matters to you, and finally what you're trying to do on the state level to deal with it. Well aphasia is a disability that usually comes from a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, an accident of some kind, and it results in the inability to speak, to say what it is you want to say. There's a slogan from the aphasia group, it affects speech, not intellect. Yeah the Adler Aphasia Center, that you know very well? Exactly. There is a group that started in Bergen County called the Adler Aphasia Center, started by two absolutely tremendous, wonderful citizens of our county and of our state, Mike and Elaine Adler. And I first became involved with it the way many people do. First of all, years ago, my mother had aphasia from a stroke. So I learned a lot about it. And she would know what she wanted to say... Hmm. ...would become so frustrating, because the words wouldn't come out, or different words would come out. And then years later, my sister, who was a radio broadcaster. Out on the West Coast? A commun... Out on the west coast. A communicator, had a stroke, and aphasia was the result. And my sister came east for a couple of years after that to live near me, and I found the Aphasia Center, the first, and then only, group that provided, not only resources for the aphasia victim, or aphasia patient, but resources for families, for caregivers. That's right. Support groups. And it started because Mike himself... Mike who was dealing with aphasia directly. We lost Mike, but he was an incredible leader, and Elaine Adler continues to fight with her team up there. That is true. She is a remarkable woman who is carrying on her husband's legacy. When Mike had his stroke, they looked for a support group, couldn't find it. Yeah, they created one. So what did they do? They created it. So go back to the Mike Adler aphasia task force..."