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Aphasia Disabled Poet Seeks Grant Money To Fulfill Spokesperson Destiny

by Keisha Spraggans
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)

My name is Keisha Spraggans. I hold a BFA from NYU and a Master's from Saint Joseph's University. I am an actress, instructor, director and educator.

In my twenties, I designed and moderated a 10-week workshop about heterosexual relationships at Temple University's PASCEP and published a poetry book, "Undisclosed Exposure."

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Disability Issues

I had an ischemic (left middle cerebral artery) stroke in October 2009. I have undergone occupational therapy once; physical therapy, three times; and speech language therapy is ongoing.

In an instant, I lost the ability to speak, write and read. My progress has been remarkable, but I am not 100%.

I live with a speech/language disorder called aphasia. My neurological symptoms post-stroke were aphasia, right homonymous hemianopia and right hemiagnosia.

Over the years, I have worked on word retrieval, repetition, syntax, expressive and receptive verbal language, low frequency and image ability words – and much more.

Financial Hardship

The US Treasury gives me a monthly wage of $879. My rent is $650 a month. My car insurance is $81/month.

My electric bill is usually $35 each cycle and my cell phone is always $30. Now I have $30 to spare. I use it to purchase healthy, natural or organic foods.

At that time I am not even thinking about my prescriptions, dental and eye care that is not covered in my health plan, maintenance of my car, and personal care items, etc.

Income Efforts

I went for a rehabilitation evaluation three times in Philadelphia and in Paoli, PA. Each time, I was denied for work.

The recommendation was to continue speech therapy and get some more physical therapy. I participate in research studies and my mother helps me financially a lot.

Specific Needs

I seek federal grant monies in order to fulfill my personal and newly professional destiny.

My short-term goals are to complete another poetry book to be published and to move from Philadelphia, PA to New York. My long-term goal is to become the global spokesperson of aphasia.

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