Aphasia patient with rescue dog

Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center (BRAC) Members Help Rescue Animals at the Jacksonville Humane Society


Jun 23, 2022

June is National Aphasia Awareness Month. Can you define aphasia? If not, you are not alone. Aphasia is a disorder that causes loss of words and not intelligence. It affects more than 2.5 million people in the US and only 8% of people have ever heard of it.

The Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center (BRAC) members are giving back to the community and helping the rescue animals at the Jacksonville Humane Society. For over two years, Jacksonville Humane Society and members with aphasia have collaborated to help both the rescue animals and people with aphasia. Savannah New, Development and Education Manager at the Humane Society and Jodi Morgan, Brooks Aphasia Center Manager, met at an event sponsored by the Humane Society. They brainstormed on the idea of having people with aphasia come to the center and to read to the animals. They felt it would be a great, non-judgmental environment for people with aphasia to practice reading and give back to the community. The members from BRAC have been reading to the dogs and cats on a monthly basis.

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Research indicates that by reading to the rescue animals, it calms them down and helps them to have a better appetite, and it helps them to relax in their new environment. Reading out loud also helps our members with aphasia improve their reading abilities and find new words. It has been a great experience with animals and humans helping each other. “Our members love helping the animals and get so much joy from this experience. It is very empowering! It helps the animal and our friends with aphasia. It is truly a win-win,” says Jodi Morgan.

The Jacksonville Humane Society and Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center collaboration was recently selected to be on a National PBS television show called Shelter Me. It is sponsored by Petco Love. Conrad Stanley, the producer and his California based team recently flew to Jacksonville to film the members with aphasia reading and talking to the animals. The team was impressed with how people with aphasia and the animals can help each other.

To learn more about the BRAC or aphasia, please contact us at (904) 345-6780 or visit our Aphasia Center page.

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