School of Health Sciences brings London's aphasia research community together
By Madeleine Pritchard, Anneline Huck and Becky Moss - Language and Communication Science PhD students
Last week the Division of Language and Communication Science (LCS) hosted a research event that brought together academics, people with aphasia, stroke group coordinators and research project volunteers. The event included an overview of current research, participants' experiences, and a 'hands-on' interactive session.
Aphasia, a communication disability that can impair speaking, understanding, reading, or writing, is a key area of research for City's LCS Division. Approximately 30 per cent of the 150,000 people in the UK affected by stroke each year will be left with aphasia.
The event was organised in response to requests from research participants for progress updates and to ensure their active involvement throughout the lifetime of each project. The meeting began with a welcome from Head of Division Professor Jane Marshall, who outlined current aphasia research themes including storytelling, creating new assessments, and therapy projects using new technology.
Throughout the day research participants gave first-hand accounts of being involved in research, reflecting on why research matters, and the positive impact it had on their own lives:
"I did a research project on reading… I felt like someone was teaching me to read again. It didn't feel like research it felt like a big gift".
"They can tell you why you can't do the tests the way you want to, and explain why. So you get to learn about yourself. It's not some weird thing, it's a condition in your brain".
Over lunch, participants met researchers over an interactive session, gaining further insight into projects, and trying out technology at one-to-one stations. The event closed with feedback from participants, including an opportunity to contribute future research ideas they felt were relevant to their needs.
LCS now plans to hold this successful community event on an annual basis.