An Aphasia Leader Retires

In December 2021, Rochelle Cohen-Schneider, Director of Clinical and Educational Services, embarked on a well-deserved new life chapter: retirement.

Not often one to talk about herself, we asked our longtime executive team member and friend to share a few words about what her career with the Aphasia Institute has meant to her. Suffice it to say she was too modest about her accomplishments and pioneering work:

“Before coming to the Aphasia Institute, I worked in acute care and rehab, and I was always curious about what the next stage was for the people I would see who were living with aphasia. What was the next stage for people with this chronic communication challenge?

I suspected I might find an answer to this question at the Aphasia Institute, and in January 1989 I began my long and amazing journey in aphasia care.

It was at the Aphasia Institute that I would learn about the many solutions to helping people live with aphasia. I knew I could be a part of that solution. I could learn to be a strong communication partner and connect with and effectively support our clients with aphasia in dealing with many of the issues that accompany living with aphasia.

I also learned I could train others to communicate effectively with our clients. The Aphasia Institute developed an innovative communication methodSupported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA)TMto help train the communication partners of people living with aphasia: family members, significant others, and health care providers.

We also created a huge social network through the Aphasia Institute’s innovative programs. This allowed people with aphasia to meet new people and participate in new activities in a socially accessible way.

I realized very quickly that the key to developing a range of solutionsindeed, the most helpful solutionswas by putting the experiences of those affected by aphasia front and centre listening and learning from them.

Working in this way enriched my own life and my own world view, and I am very grateful for the profound opportunity. For 32 years, I’ve worked with an incredible team of professionals and volunteers to create solutions so that people with aphasia can live successfully.”

To say we will miss you, Rochelle, would be an understatement. You have inspired all of us with your wisdom, your dedication, your inventiveness, your great empathy, and your friendship.

Mazel Tov, Rochelle, on your retirement!

For an in-depth interview with Rochelle Cohen Schneider, exploring aphasia in the clinical setting, download or stream the Aphasia Access podcast, The Whys and The Hows of the Clinical Doing: A Conversation with Rochelle Cohen-Schneider.

Until her retirement in December 2021, ROCHELLE COHEN-SCHNEIDER was Director of Clinical and Educational Services at the Aphasia Institute in Toronto, Canada. She has worked in the field of aphasia (across the continuum of care) for most of her career spanning 42 years. She studied Speech and Hearing Therapy in South Africa and completed a master’s degree in Adult Education in Toronto. In addition to her interests in clinical education, continuing education, and working within a social model of aphasia, Rochelle is passionate about understanding ‘how clinicians think, and why they do what they do.’

"My experience with the SCATM training has been an amazing experience in both skill building and knowledge and understanding of persons who are affected by Aphasia – The teaching team at AI are excellent examples of professionals and compassionate teachers. Highly recommend this training."
- Lorraine Pyle, CCSH Belleville, ON
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