If you’ve seen Lingraphica’s aphasia documentary series, Their Words, then you’ll remember meeting Alyssa Fox. Shortly after turning 20 years old, Alyssa had a massive stroke. She couldn’t walk or talk, but after years of physical, speech, and occupational therapy, she’s writing the rest of her story. We recently had a chance to check in with Alyssa to see what she’s been up to since we first met her and her mom a year ago.
Ever the traveler, Alyssa has been spending time on the road this last year. As a birthday gift, she took a trip to the Mothman Museum in West Virginia. The Mothman is a cryptid that folklore says lives in the rural town of Point Pleasant — and Alyssa is a fan of the infamous humanoid.
But as an added bonus, Alyssa discovered a love for the mountains of West Virginia. “I like the Mothman,” she tells Lingraphica. “And the mountains though — beautiful! In a past life, OK, Mothman and I…” she jokes. “I wanna move there!”
But it’s not all fun and games and paranormal creatures for Alyssa these days. Every day is a chance to improve her speech, and she has been hard at work. She spent a month and a half in Florida to attend an intensive therapy program at the UCF Aphasia House. It was exhausting work that would take all day. “Four hours’ worth of talking, and then a snack,” she says.
After her stroke, Alyssa was told that she wouldn’t be able to improve after a certain amount of time had passed and to limit her expectations. She was warned of the supposed “aphasia plateau myth.” She took that personally. Full sentences were a big goal for her and stand out among her many accomplishments over the last year.
“I work on it a lot,” she says. “Some full sentences sometimes.” But it’s not always easy. “I get sad sometimes, not getting better, but just one full sentence a day — ah!”
So what does 2023 hold for Alyssa? “Making art and driving,” she says. “Definitely driving.” And of course, hitting the road for more travel.
Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke, and every stroke survivor is at risk of living with aphasia. At just 23 years old, Alyssa is certainly on the young side to have aphasia. Still, she’s learned a lot over these last few years. We asked her what advice she would give to someone who might be new to living with aphasia.
“Things will get better, yes,” she says. “Things will get better.”
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We help adults with speech and language impairments to reconnect with family and friends, improve communication, and live their best lives. Call us at 866-570-8775 or visit the link below to get started.