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2020 Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders (GBHI)

Exploring the Power of Active Clowning in Aphasia Intervention

Lenisa Brandao, Ph.D.
Assciacao dos Amigos Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana
Porto Alegre, Brazil

Studies show that stroke could increase the risk of developing dementia. In Brazil, older adults represent the majority of those who survive a stroke and live with aphasia (the loss of ability to understand speech as a result of the stroke). These individuals may face long-term care inequities as many are unassisted and could be dependent on caregivers who may not receive support. Dr. Lenisa Brandao believes that arts (such as theater) may promote wellbeing and stimulate people with aphasia to use several modes of communication to increase their confidence in communication. 

Dr. Brandao’s project will adopt a mixed-method study for implementing and evaluating an active clowning program for older adults who survive stroke and live with chronic aphasia in the south of Brazil. The researchers will evaluate the potential impact of active clowning on quality of life, participant’s perceived experiences, explore the dynamics of interactions (such as verbal, non-verbal and mixed expression of ideas) and perceived response of an audience. Dr. Brandao believes that focusing on creative expression through clowning may shift perspectives, promote self-worth and discover functional strategies of communication among individuals living with aphasia

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