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rapidfire Treating Aphasia W


ith a growing number of veterans returning from deployment with traumatic brain inju- ries, increased attention is being paid to apha-


sia, a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain responsible for language. The disorder impairs expression and understanding of language as well as the ability to read and write. According to Joanne Pierson, Ph.D., associate director


of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program, “Aphasia aff ects a person’s ability to process communication. It has nothing to do with that person’s intelligence, which is not aff ected by the disorder.” Aphasia’s variability can make prognosis very diffi cult.


Experts agree extensive language therapy, delivered as soon as possible and tailored to an individual, can prove eff ective in recovery — or at least minimize lasting eff ects. To meet heightened need, the University of Michigan


Aphasia Program has increased the number of annual treatment sessions and structured intervention each week. Aphasia responds best to a treatment program that is short but intensive, Pierson says.


— Michael Michelsen Jr. ASKBUD


Q. I’M A VETERAN, BUT I DON’T HAVE A MILITARY ID CARD. CAN I GET A VA-ISSUED PHOTO ID CARD FOR USE AT RETAIL STORES OFFERING VETERAN DISCOUNTS? A. Probably not. The VA issues the Veteran Identification Card (VIC) for use at VA medical


facilities to identify and check in veterans for appoint- ments. Only veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits will receive the card. The card cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize payment for care at non-VA facilities. The card displays the veteran’s name, picture, and special eligibility indicators — such as Service Connected, Purple Heart, or POW, if applicable — on the front of the card. Those veterans who have a VIC might find it useful for identification purposes, though it no longer displays the veteran’s Social Security number or date of birth on the front of the card. Download a publication at www.va.gov/health eligibility/library/pubs/vic to learn more. Some retail locations will honor a veteran’s dis-


charge document (DD-214) as proof of veteran status. If you don’t have a copy of your discharge document, you may apply for one at https://vetrecs .archives.gov/veteranrequest/home.asp. I would be interested in hearing from veterans


who received a veteran discount from a retailer but who hold neither a military ID card nor a VIC. How did you prove your veteran status?


— Capt. Bud Schneeweis, USCG-Ret., is director of MOAA’s Benefits Information and Financial Education Department.


Miscellany: Interest-Free Loans and Grants


LOANS AND GRANTS: Children of MOAA members or of active duty, reserve component, or retired enlisted servicemembers are eligible to apply for interest-free loans or grants from the MOAA Scholarship Fund. Apply


by noon (Eastern time) March 1 at www.moaa.org/education. *BLACK GOLD: Add a little kick and some great flavor with peppercorns, once known as “black gold.” Rear Adm. Joyce Johnson, USPHS-Ret., D.O., shares their history and ways to use them at www.moaa.org/nutritionnotes. *CAREER FAIR: Attend the largest military-focused career fair in Washington, D.C., April 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The fair is open to all current or former servicemembers and their spouses. For more information, visit www.moaa.org/careerfair.


*online: Learn more about aphasia and the University of Michigan program at www.aphasiahelp.com. IMAGES: ABOVE, SHUTTERSTOCK; TOP, SEAN SHANAHAN FEBRUARY 2012 MILITARY OFFICER 25


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