Saturday, April 28, 2007

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program News

Emmy and Tony Award-winning Actress Julie Harris to Headline University of Michigan Aphasia Program Event

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 25 PRNewswire-USNewswireJulie Harris, one of the most awarded actresses of the stage and screen, will headline the University of Michigan Aphasia Program's (UMAP) 60th anniversary fundraising event, "It's a RAP: 60 Year Celebration of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program." The event also includes an exclusive screening of her new movie, "The Way Back Home," in which Ms. Harris portrays a woman who had a stroke. The event will take place June 1-2, 2007.

Julie Harris, 81, is a former client of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program ( She attended the program in May 2006 as part of her recovery from a stroke and resulting aphasia that occurred in May 2001.

Ms. Harris is regarded as the most respected and honored stage actress in America and is the most honored performer in Tony history with 10 nominations and five victories (1952, 1956, 1969, 1973 and 1977). She is the only actress to date to receive 10 nominations and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. During her acting career, she won three Emmys (1962, 1969 and 2000). Television fans of "Knots Landing" remember her fondly in the role of Lilimae Clemens. She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1994 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C. and was a recipient of 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, along with Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett and Suzanne Farrell. She was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program attracts clients from across the United States and other countries due to its unique approach to aphasia therapy. It is an intensive program, with clients participating in six-week sessions, receiving 23-hours of therapy each week. Therapy is conducted by clinically-trained professional speech language pathologists (not students), offering an individualized therapy program with a limited number of participants to ensure a high ratio of staff-to-clients for the most effective one-on-one treatment.

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain. Stroke is the leading cause; however, it also can result from brain tumors, head injuries, brain infections, and other conditions of the brain. People with aphasia know what they want to say but cannot always get out the words. It can affect talking, understanding, reading and writing. Memory and thinking also can be reduced. An estimated one million Americans of all ages have aphasia.

The two-day event begins the afternoon of June 1 with informational workshops on the latest in stroke and aphasia research and therapy featuring Dr. Jennifer Majersik of the University of Michigan Stroke Center, and Dr. David Steinberg, Medical Director for Rehabilitation Services, St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The workshops will take place at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

On the evening of June 1, there will be a special exclusive first public screening of Julie Harris' new movie, "The Way Back Home," which will take place at the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan ( Also attending the event will be producer Michael H. King, who will introduce Ms. Harris, and the movie, to the audience.

On Saturday, June 2, morning and afternoon workshops will focus on the latest technology to help clients and family members; multi-modal communication techniques; music and art therapy; and, caregiver support. On the evening of June 2 a gala reception will be held to honor Ms. Harris, and will include a special VIP reception where guests will have the opportunity to meet Julie Harris. All events on June 2 will take place at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

For more information, visit the UMAP website at or call (734) 764-8440.

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program was established in 1947 to assist World War II veterans who sustained injuries in combat. It is the oldest, most effective program of its kind for the treatment of aphasia in the United States. The program has successfully treated thousands of individuals with aphasia. UMAP's intensive program provides its clients with as much therapy during a six-week session as a person would receive in one year of traditional therapy. More information about the University of Michigan Aphasia Program can be found at

SOURCE The University of Michigan Aphasia Program