Susan Kohler is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist, currently working in the southern California area. She graduated from Arizona State University with an M.S. in Communication Disorders. She completed a Clinical Fellowship Year at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. Susan has worked “in the trenches” primarily with the elderly population in hospitals, home and Adult Day Health Care settings for over 15 years. She has worked as a Director of Clinical Programs and Rehabilitation Services Coordinator, in addition to duties as a Speech Pathologist. Her experience with Alzheimer’s and dementia has gained her recognition in lecturing and training on the subject of communication with this population.
Susan is also an experienced actress and singer (visit susankohler.com) and attributes that training to enhancing her skills as a therapist working with the frail elderly. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors’ Equity Association, with a long resume of credits in television, film, stage and recording. Often, when working at one of her contracted facilities, she would bring her fellow artist friends to perform, or simply just talk to the patients and residents of the facility. The responses amazed her – what seemed to be withdrawn, lifeless individuals – emerged into smiling, laughing, singing and interactive human beings. She soon realized that the “human connection” was vital to stimulating positive experiences of communication, sharing, bonding, building self-esteem and wellness in persons that many think cannot understand or express their interests.
With much encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues, Susan began writing her book, How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s. It is a practical guide and workbook for families that shows how to connect with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, confusion and memory loss. It is a book that comes from not only from the heart of its author, but the hearts of the people who have dementia. In the acknowledgements, Susan thanks all these individuals with whom she has worked with – for helping her to appreciate life.
“Communication is at the heart of every human interaction. We must connect with each other.”
How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s
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