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International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference 2016
Health Series: Announcements

International aphasia researchers come to City for landmark conference

Internationally-renowned conference brings together both researchers and clinical specialists dedicated to aphasia rehabilitation

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Towards the end of December researchers and practitioners with an interest in aphasia from 23 countries around the world came to City for the 17th International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference.

Lucy DipperSharing their work on the communications disability, its effects and also possible treatments at City, the event was organised by conference chair Dr Lucy Dipper from the Division of Language and Communication Science (LCS) in the School of Health Sciences at City along with co-chairs Dr Madeline Cruice and Dr Rachel Holland.

The internationally-renowned conference is based on a tradition of excellence, and which brings together both researchers and clinical specialists dedicated to aphasia rehabilitation.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that disrupts the production and comprehension of speech, as well as reading and writing. About one third of stroke survivors acquire aphasia, with profound consequences for the person’s quality of life and social wellbeing.

IARC postersHosted over three days, the conference featured over 30 talks on a vast range of topics ranging from establishing a consensus on an updated definition of aphasia; the effectiveness of word-level therapy; to how interventions in the form of personal storytelling can be beneficial.

In particular 14 researchers at City from across the School of Health Sciences and the School of Mathematics and Computer Science contributed to talks with many more involved in the poster presentations across the conference.

These talks included:

  • Key word therapy: An effective treatment for auditory comprehension difficulties in fluent aphasia? (Lucy Dipper, Julie Hickin et al)
  • Does using assistive technology software to support functional writing and reading lead to increased social participation and improve mood and quality of life? (Becky Moss, Jane Marshall, Celia Woolf, and Katerina Hilari)
  • Development of an app which efficiently elicits an indicative dialogue and gesture sample from people with aphasia interacting with different conversation partners (Richard Talbot)
  • Establishing a consensus on an updated definition of aphasia (Madeline Cruice and Karianne Berg et al)
  • Platform: Investigating the effectiveness of word level therapy in two different approaches (Evangelia-Antonia Efstratiadou, Katerina Hilari et al)
  • Discourse measures: Are they any good? (Madeleine Pritchard et al)
  • Intervention for Personal Storytelling in Aphasia (Jennie O’Grady)
  • Evaluating the benefits of aphasia intervention delivered in virtual reality (Jane Marshall et al)

Madeline CruiceDr Madeline Cruice also gave a keynote lecture on making a meaningful difference in aphasia rehabilitation, and in particular touched on the fact we need to think about what quality of life measures are used as well as that it matters who you ask about quality of life as family members' can report very differently to people with aphasia themselves.

Besides lightening and keynote talks, the City academics also hosted a number of parallel sessions which included:

  • What role for Speech and Language Therapists in addressing psychosocial well-being in aphasia? Results from an on-line survey and focus groups (Sarah Northcott et al)
  • Mild aphasia: the state of the art and future directions in assessment and treatment (Julie Hickin and Lucy Dipper)
  • Using technology in aphasia therapy to facilitate reading and writing (Katie Monnelly et al)

There were also a number of events proceeding the conference, as visiting academics also used their time at City to disseminate their work, meet fellow researchers, and also plan future projects.

This included a talk by Sarah Wallace, an Associate Lecturer at University of Queensland, Australia, who carried out research with colleagues including Dr Madeline Cruice showing that people with aphasia and their family members consider participation in communication activities to be a key desired outcome of treatment.

Dr Lucy Dipper, Senior Lecturer in the Division of Language and Communication Science and IARC conference chair, said:

“The conference was a great success and it was great to meet and hear from so many international aphasia researchers. There was also a great presence from City, and it was wonderful to see our research shared to such a varied and international audience. We hope that this is just the start of new research collaborations and the IARC conference is the beginning of new streams of work on aphasia, its effects and also possible treatments.”

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