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Lifestyle

NIU STEM Café explores the role of music in speech therapy

Jamie Mayer is an associate professor in the Northern Illinois University School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders. She will present at the next NIU STEM Café exploring the role of music in speech therapy, to be held Tuesday at Eduardo's Restaurant in DeKalb.
Jamie Mayer is an associate professor in the Northern Illinois University School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders. She will present at the next NIU STEM Café exploring the role of music in speech therapy, to be held Tuesday at Eduardo's Restaurant in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Can singing help people recover language skills after a stroke or other brain injury? Speech-language pathologists in DeKalb are putting this to the test with two choirs at local retirement centers.

Find out more at the next Northern Illinois University STEM Café at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eduardo’s Restaurant, 206 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, with associate professor Jamie Mayer of the NIU School of Allied Health & Communicative Disorders and speech and language pathologist Lilli Bishop.

Mayer and Bishop will describe the role of music for improving communication, cognition and engagement for individuals with acquired, neurogenic cognitive-communicative disorders (problems with thinking or speaking following a brain injury due to stroke, trauma or progressive disease).

The speakers will describe the neural basis of music – those processes that take place in the brain when we sing or make music. They’ll share examples of two programs here in DeKalb that use music to help stoke survivors and others with communicative disorders and show videos of the choirs.

“I think that people will be surprised to see that music has the power to draw out some ‘hidden’ abilities in individuals with acquired communicative and/or cognitive disorders,” Mayer said in a news release. “I would love for the audience to leave with ideas about how to help us continue to grow our programs and reach more individuals in the area who could benefit!”

Mayer, who originally worked as a clinical speech-language pathologist, has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at NIU in neuroscience and medical speech-language pathology for the past 10 years. In addition to teaching, she leads a number of clinical, community-service-based and research activities all aimed at maximizing quality of life and communicative engagement for individuals with acquired neurogenic communication disorders.

NIU STEM Cafés are sponsored by NIU STEAM and are designed to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in our everyday lives.

For more information, contact Judith Dymond at 815-753-4751 or email jdymond@niu.edu.

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