About Us

Founded by Bill Connors in 2005, Aphasia Toolbox is the official website of the Aphasia Center of Innovative Treatment, inc. Its corporate offices are located in the Penn Brewery Technical Center, built in 1846, in the historical Deutschtown area of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The staff, including three people with aphasia, has provided more than 50 workshops and presentations since its inception and has collaborated with numerous university programs and health care organizations. Subscribers to the website come from 18 different countries and aphasia treatment is offered in 7 different languages, flattening the world of aphasia.

Bill Connors
CEO, MA, CCC-SLP

Specializing in combining technology, neuroscience and learning theory with current evidence and research to advance the treatment of aphasia and related disorders. He began this career in 1975 studying under Dr. Audrey Holland and Dr. Albyn Davis, pioneers in aphasia rehabilitation. His first clinical position was at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.  In conjunction with Dr. Malcolm McNeil and Dr. Patrick Doyle, he founded The Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center in 1999 that offered intensive aphasia treatment. In 2005, he left his position at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to create Aphasia Toolbox.

 

Sharon Rennhack
BA, MLS

Is a person with aphasia. For over 30 years, she had a career as a researcher/librarian/writer, working in the fields of Advertising/Marketing, Financial Services, Management Consulting, and News/Television. She is an avid kayaker and recently started an interest in camping and hiking. She is a Certified Aphasiatoolbox Practice Coach and is the editor of our Newsletter.

 

Erin St. Myer
Business Manager

Majored in neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. She brings a critical skill set to her position as Business Manager of aphasiatoolbox.com. She has 10 years of experience with the TriRivers Orthopedic practice where she worked on medical record completeness, accuracy and management for a large physician corporation. Erin also worked as a pre-K teacher at St. Paul’s Preschool in Pittsburgh, PA. Erin was elected in January 2012 to the Board of Directors for the North Allegheny Tiger Pride Association in Wexford, PA, a youth organization with several hundred participants.

 

 

Pushpa Ramachandran
Lead Speech/language pathologist, MA, CCC-SLP,

Has been a speech language pathologist since 2002. She brings a wealth of skills and experiences to her current focus on online, innovative treatment of aphasia and its related disorders. These include: alternative and augmentative communication; pediatric speech/language; brain injury rehabilitation; and swallowing disorders. Pushpa has worked in: school systems; autism clinics; home health services; private practice; and an acute hospital rehabilitation program. She led in the development, staff training and implementation of a unified tracheotomy weaning protocol.

 

 

Paul Berger
PWA, MA, MBA

Is a person with aphasia, and an author, speaker, creator of http://www.strokesurvivor.com, publisher, and a consumer consultant. For 15 years he has helped stroke survivors maximize their rehabilitation, regain control of their lives, and achieve their goals and dreams through his Stroke Recovery Consulting and Coaching. After publishing his internationally-acclaimed book “How to Conquer the World With One Hand... And an Attitude”, Paul won the coveted award for Individual Achievement from the National Council on Communicative Disorders.

 

 

Kaitlyn Kunkle
M.S., CCC-SLP

Has been working in Skilled Nursing Facilities and telepractice in the Pittsburgh area since 2012. Kaitlyn has had clinical experience working in school districts, university clinic setting, telepractice, and nursing homes.  She provides services to adults with aphasia, cognitive impairments, dysphagia, symbolic language dysfunctions, and apraxia and has experience working with children in the areas of articulation disorders, language delays, deafness and hearing loss, traumatic brain injury (TBI), autism, stuttering, selective mutism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional disturbances.  Kaitlyn is recently married and resides in the Pittsburgh area with her husband and their dog Lexi.  Some of Kaitlyn's other interests include fitness, health and wellness as she believes in a total-body recovery process.

 

Nancy McCambridge

Is a person with aphasia. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Pittsburgh, PA. She pursued a career in banking, eventually working in the accounting department at Nordic Fisheries in Pittsburgh PA. She has participated in numerous research studies at the VA Aphasia Health care program and the University of Pittsburgh. She serves as a volunteer at her local American Legion organization. Nancy assists in data entry and management at aphasiatoolbox.com.

 

 

Austin K. White MA
CCC-SLP

Is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a new addition to aphasiatoolbox.com. Austin has had graduate clinical experience with both children and adults in multiple settings including hospitals, private practices, and public schools. He has clinical-graduate experience with adults with aphasia, apraxia of speech, traumatic brain injury, cognitive disorders/disabilities, swallowing disorders (dysphagia), patients who have undergone laryngectomy and suffering from head and neck cancer.

 

 

Alison Ezell
MA, SLP

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh currently working in the NYC area. She has clinical experience working with a variety of pediatric and adult clients in locations such as the Pittsburgh Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is particularly interested in motor speech disorders, including dysarthria and apraxia of speech.

 

 

Manos Anyfantis
MA, CCC-SLP

Earned his Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. He also earned the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA in 2006. During his graduate clinical training, he worked in various medical settings including the intensive aphasia clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he provided speech and language services to patients with aphasia and other neurological communication disorders.

 

 

Gauri Desai
MA, CCC-SLP

Certified speech language pathologist with 11 years of extensive experience with both adults and pediatrics in acute rehab hospitals, skilled nursing homes, pediatric outpatient departments and in-home therapy. Her main interests are aphasia, apraxia, brain injury rehabilitation and swallowing disorders. She has been a supervisor for CF(clinical fellowship for clinicians) and student externternships. She has actively participated in developing stroke support groups at hospitals. Gauri is ASHA certified and hold active licenses in state of VA and TX. She is NMES certified, IM certified and DIR/ Floor time - level 1 for Autism. Her passion is helping clients to communicate so as to build relationships with their loved ones.

 

 

Brooke Lang
MA, CCC-SLP

Brooke Lang received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Connecticut in 2006 and her Master of Arts Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She completed her fellowship year at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in 2009, and was employed there until the summer of 2014. She had a leadership role in the management of VA Pittsburgh's PIRATE (Program for Intensive Residential Aphasia Treatment and Education), and also was one of the lead clinicians involved with the program. Her areas of interest include Apraxia of Speech and Phonological Aphasia. Brooke began working for Bill Connors in May 2015.

 

 


History

2007
Aphasiatoolbox.com pioneers the concept of online therapy with the use of software. The Aphasia Sight Reader (c) was conceptualized and used in practice for therapy to help clients with aphasia make progress even without a therapist.

 

2008
The Aphasia Solutions Network (ASN) is born. The ASN is a "social therapeutic network" of people with aphasia, caregivers/coaches, SLPs, and institutions/organizations.

 

2009
Using oovoo, the online ASN group program is launched allowing for increased peer interaction, SLP, coach training and group practice. We add our second software program Verbal Working Memory and Attention Training for Aphasia. Presentations: Rhode Island; New York; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; and West Virginia.

 

2010
The new aphasiatoolbox website is launched.

  • Adam Miller, a PWA who had been a client of the ASN for two years, and his design team build the new site. The blogsite for www.aphasiatoolbox.com wins a national award for brain disability blogs.
  • ASN launches the Brain Compatible Aphasia Treatment program ( BCAT ) .Presentations: Montreal Canada; North Dakota; Kentucky; Maryland; Ohio; Windsor Canada; Washington; DC; Pennsylvania; Online- www.speechpathology.com ; www.aphasiatoolbox.com ; and Washington DC.