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On International Women’s Day, we think of Pat Arato… – Aphasia Institute

On International Women’s Day, we think of Pat Arato…

Tuesday, March 8, 2022 is International Women’s Day, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” []

On this day and so often, we remember our founder, Pat Arato – a pioneer, visionary, and mentor.

Pat Arato (1938 – 2020)

When her husband, the late Oscar Arato, suffered a stroke that left him with aphasia, Pat Arato could find no support available for this isolating communication disorder. In 1979, Pat and a few volunteers began working from her basement to create the Speech and Stroke Rehabilitation Centre – the first independent, community-based resource of its kind.

Inspired by beloved stage and screen performer Patricia Neal—also left with aphasia following a stroke—Pat began building what is now the Aphasia Institute, an internationally recognized centre of excellence that in 2019 celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Aphasia Institute, housing the Pat Arato Aphasia Centre, is Pat’s great legacy in helping people with aphasia learn to communicate in new ways and begin to navigate their lives again. Through direct service, education, and research, the Aphasia Institute has opened up the world for people who never imagined they could return to a fulfilling life after aphasia.

While we miss Pat every day, the impact of her extraordinary vision is still felt all across the world. The recipient of the Order of Ontario, Pat’s incredible commitment, devotion, and energy will continue to inspire and inform what we do today, tomorrow, and for the future.

"Volunteering at the Aphasia Institute has been an amazing experience. It’s such a great feeling to help someone express themselves, or help someone understand another’s message. It can be challenging sometimes, but that just makes the moment a connection goes through that much more special. More than anything, I really appreciate the strong sense of community that the Aphasia Institute creates and being a part of that community."
- Vidya David, Volunteer
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