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City hosts British Aphasia Therapy Symposium 2012

Researchers and Speech and Language Therapists gather at City to discuss innovations in treatment of Aphasia
by Ben

Last week more the 200 researchers and speech and language therapists gathered at City University London for the British Aphasia Society's (BAS) biennial Therapy Symposium. The conference was organised by a team from City's School of Health Sciences, chaired by Professor Jane Marshall; and delegates were drawn from across the UK and Europe.

The topic of the symposium was aphasia, or language disorder following stroke, and talks focused on the practical work undertaken by speech and language therapists to remediate the problems of aphasia. Over the course of the two-day event some of the leading researchers and therapists in the field of aphasiology presented papers and engaged in lively debates about innovative therapeutic approaches.

The event also featured an update on City's Gesture Recognition in Aphasia (GReAT) initiative. With funding from the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme this project has developed an affordable, computer-based therapy tool that can be used at home to help people with severe aphasia to gesture (see image).

Jane Marshall said: "When speech is eliminated by aphasia, gestures offer a potential avenue for communication. However, people with severe strokes can find gesturing difficult. Our new computer therapy tool, called GeST, produced small but significant gains in gesture production, although only with therapist support". 

Professor Stanton Newman, Dean of the School of Health Sciences said: "The School is the largest provider of speech and language therapy courses in the UK which made us an ideal home for this event.

"The GReAT team's use of technology in a therapeutic setting is a perfect example of the innovative and industry leading research that many of our academics undertake. I would like to thank Jane Marshall and her colleagues as well as the British Aphasiology Society for a very informative and successful symposium."

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