Founded and directed by Sara Pinkepank, a speech-language pathologist, the Tulsa Aphasia Choir helps people with aphasia practice language skills while in a safe environment. Aphasia, an acquired language disorder, results from a brain injury — most often, stroke — and can impair areas of language from speaking to reading and writing.
Pinkepank originally discovered a choir for people with aphasia in Vermont and decided to start her own in Tulsa.
“I remember thinking how much I would love to be a part of something like that someday,” she says. “It would be a perfect combination of my passions for music and for helping people with communication disorders.” By October 2016, the Tulsa Aphasia Choir was a reality.
Hosted at Asbury United Methodist Church, the choir is comprised of those with aphasia and their family members. Although the program aims to help people with the condition, it also provides an educational opportunity for the community to learn about aphasia and “how to better communicate with people with aphasia,” Pinkepank explains.
The Tulsa Aphasia Choir presents free concerts at least once each year, performing well-known music. By joining forces over a platform as universal as music, Pinkepank assists those involved with “learning self-advocacy skills and practicing communication skills.”