Adler Aphasia Center receives Grotta Fund award

Photo Courtesy of Adler Aphasia Center
From left are Renie Carniol, director of The Grotta Fund for Senior Care in Whippany; Chuck Berkowitz, chairman of the Adler Aphasia Center board of directors; Chantelle Walker, president and CEO of Adler Aphasia Center; and Joshua Greenfield, member of the Grotta Fund Council.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ recently announced a $15,000 grant to The Adler Aphasia Center as the recipient of its first Impact and Sustainability Award. Through this grant, Grotta acknowledged and honored the excellence and impact of the Adler Aphasia Center, located in West Orange and Maywood, as a past Grotta grantee that has successfully implemented a program or initiative that continues to help older adults age in place in their community.

Adler initially received funding from Grotta in 2012 to replicate in West Orange its successful model in Maywood that provides post-rehabilitative aphasia programming and services for stroke and brain injury survivors with aphasia. The Grotta Fund recognized the uniqueness of the Adler Aphasia Center model and the promise it offered to the MetroWest population in mitigating the isolation of people with aphasia who had no access to such services in their community, increasing their independence and bettering their quality of life.

When the Adler Aphasia Center at JCC MetroWest opened in June 2012, it served just five people with aphasia, facilitated by one speech-language pathologist, offered just two days of programming assisted by just two volunteers, offered no formal caregiver support group, and was housed in a JCC with several thousand members and employees who didn’t understand the meaning of aphasia. Now in its seventh year, the West Orange program is open four days a week, is facilitated by two licensed speech therapists, serves on average 21 people with aphasia, has trained a cadre of volunteers, employs a life coach who leads a formal weekly caregiver support group, offers an active and highly sought-after semester internship for graduate speech-language pathology students, and continues to hold programs in a JCC whose staff and members now embrace people with aphasia by including them in JCC programming and events.