A bright future for City’s Aphasia Clinic

Out of 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK, more than 400,000 people live with aphasia, a communication disorder which may have a severe impact on a person’s life, negatively affecting their relationships and ability to work and pursue social activities.

City’s School of Health Sciences is exploring how to continue to improve people’s ability to communicate after stroke through the CommuniCATE Aphasia Clinic project. Making use of life-changing interventions through modern technologies, the project will enable face-to-face provision of vital therapy to stroke survivors in London and beyond.

The School is the largest provider of speech and language therapy courses in the UK, with an international reputation for research into stroke-related communication issues. Recent research has specifically explored applications of modern technologies, such as Skype in communication therapy.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that can severely affect the lives of stroke survivors.

Between 2014 and 2017, City academics Professor Jane Marshall OBE and Dr Celia Woolf led a research project called CommuniCATE, funded by the Barts Charity. It drew on expertise within City and beyond to establish how technology can both improve language and communication in people with aphasia and support skill development in NHS clinicians and among City’s students so they can facilitate positive outcomes for stroke survivors.

Building on what was learnt and achieved for stroke survivors through past projects, City’s School of Health Sciences academics would now like to run a new two-year Aphasia Clinic at City from January 2019, making the above treatments available to more people through face-to-face interventions. This will:

  • Provide therapy to people living with aphasia. Stroke survivors will be referred to the clinic from across London, receiving at least six weeks of intervention, targeting reading, writing or conversation skills
  • Explore new models of delivery, such as greater employment of group therapy and the increasing number of applications that can be run on tablets and smartphones
  • Continue training NHS/other clinicians, students and alumni via group training sessions, placement opportunities and internships.

Find out more: blogs.city.ac.uk/communicate