Editor's note: The following information comes from a release by the MGH Institute of Health Professions.
Arlington resident Marjorie Nicholas is helping Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recover from a 2011 shooting that left her struggling to communicate.
And based on her work with Giffords, Nicholas said she "wouldn’t be surprised to see her again in the political arena at some point in the future.”
Giffords’ condition, known as Aphasia, is when a person who has suffered brain trauma has difficulty with language. Aphasia normally occurs when a person has a stroke, although it also can be caused by a head injury.
Nicholas is an associate professor at MGH Institute of Health Professions, a graduate school founded by Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a speech-language pathologist who has taught at the MGH Institute since 2001 and first worked with Giffords for two weeks last October.
Along with colleague Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, Nicholas assisted Giffords regain the language skills she lost in the aftermath of the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded.
"It was a great experience, and I was honored to have the opportunity to help her,” Nicholas said in a statement.
Nicholas, an expert in adult neurogenic communication disorders, is the associate chair of the Institute’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Director of the Aphasia Center located at the school’s Charlestown Navy Yard campus.
“Gabby was engaging and upbeat," she said of working with the congresswoman. "She’s very inspiring.”
The SLP colleagues, who are collaborating on a book, implemented a multi-faceted treatment program that addressed Giffords’ communication issues.