Remarkable recoveries even after formal speech therapy has ended

Our multisensory techniques won an award from Johns Hopkins University--there were over 2,000 entries.

NEWS - Stroke Family article is featured in NeuroConnections Magazine!

Barbara Dean Schacker - founder

Barbara discovered the Sensory Trigger Method in 1972 when she started working with her father, an untreatable global aphasic. For 9 years, Vernon Keller Dean could say only 9 words, even after 2 years of speech therapy. She invented a picture and paper based therapy that brought back his understanding of spoken language, then his ability to say and repeat words and then to copy the words in long hand in his notebooks. 18 months later, he said his first spontaneous word. After that, new words came back one by one and at the time of his death, he could say over 700 words, go to the store, the bank and the post office and ride on the bus by himself. He also became an artist with his left hand. Later, Barbara designed and published the first natural-voice software for speech therapy and home applications in 1988. She was honored in 1991 to receive the John's Hopkins University Certificate of Achievement Award for improving the quality of life for the disabled through technology. Reader's Digest featured her father's amazing speech recovery and her life story, “Prisoner of Silence”, written by Geeta Dardic, in the June issue of 1991. Since then she has continued to research the brain, alternative therapies and approaches for speech recovery after stroke or traumatic brain injury. In 1999, she created the first online talking software for aphasia. In 2008, she saved her husband, Michael, from a near-fatal major aortic dissection. As a result of the high-risk operation to save his life, Michael’s left hemisphere was almost completely wiped out. The neurologists should her the CAT scan and said "There will be no speech" When she asked about speech therapy, he repeated, "There will be no speech, it isn't possible." She started the Sensory Trigger Method when he was still in a coma and continues to this day to work with him and document his extraordinary progress. Later in 2008, she co-founded and created, a joint project with Bill Connors, SLP-CCC, to bring new approaches, communication techniques, programs and tools to the speech and language and caregiver fields. In addition to Stroke Family, Barbara now heads and maintains all the web sites and projects that she shared with her husband, including enabling him to publish his books and music.

Michael Schacker, cofounder

Michael Schacker is the author of "A Spring Without Bees, how colony collapse disorder has endangered our food supply." by The Lyons Press, 2008 and The Global Curriculum, an online progressive, alternative world high school curriculum—which is yet to be published. He headed The Global Regeneration Corporation which is now evolved into The Global Regeneration Network. In addition to being a science and political writer, he has been a musician and composer, composing a musical based on the life of William Blake. Michael previously authored and developed an online course for the Rodale Institute on "How to transition to Organic Farming" as well as Crisis Management, Code of Conduct and many other projects.

Currently he is retired and recovering from a massive traumatic brain injury in the spring of 2008. He continues to recover with the help of the special approach to speech recovery, the Sensory Trigger Method developed by his wife, Barbara. In addition to conventional therapies previously, Michael continues to steady progress with a new combination of approaches. This special kind of neuro-feedback resulted in his being able to get out of his wheelchair and walk with a hemi-walker and to regain his cognitive skills and personality. In addition to Sensory Trigger work, Music and Singing Therapy, by music therapist Rick Shosinsky is improving his speech recovery. Intensive Chinese method of acupuncture for stroke recovery resulted in Michael being able to walk unassisted and without a cane in just the first treatment. This combination continues to significantly improve his over-all recovery. He has benefited greatly and would not have the recovery that he has had if not for the help and support of his family and many friends.

His second book Global Awakening, New Science and the 21st Century Enlightenment released by Inner Traditions publisher in December 2012 is a book about the shift in consciousness that will make a positive future for the planet possible. He had almost finished the manuscript when he suffered his massive brain injury. Dr. Larsen helped find a publisher for this book. Barbara then finished and updated the content of the book and worked with the publisher to produce the book. She now acts as his spokesperson for Michael's written achievements. Michael currently is regaining his speech and writing by working with his own manuscripts using the Sensory Trigger Method under the direction of his wife, Barbara.

Melissa Schacker, Chief Stroke Family Renovator, 2013

Melissa is the new addition to the family business of alternative speech recovery. The role she chose for herself is to revamp and reposition Stroke Family in the speech recovery field and in the marketplace. She will apply her experience growing up with Stroke Family, her personal flair and her spot-on business sense to give Stroke Family a complete “make-over” and restore it to a thriving and successful endeavor. She saw firsthand, what a major stroke or brain injury can do to a family and how it drains the life out a family’s livelihood. Her goal is to restore Stroke Family to the vitality it had before her father’s TBI and then to go beyond that and make it what it always was meant to be, a highly successful company that will be able to continue delivering extraordinary service to those who need it the most in the future. She intends to carry on the family business, because she says, “There isn’t anything else out there like Stroke Family. The Sensory Trigger and what my mother discovered, all the people it has helped to recover their speech, not to mention what we have been able to do for our own family members with stroke—that needs to go on. Thousands of people have benefited from this approach and I am going to make sure it continues to flourish and is updated with the most current apps and technologies.”

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