City University London

Remote Aphasia Therapy Project at City University London

The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia and The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust jointly funded a research pilot study at City University, led by Professor Jane Marshall. The project commenced in October 2012 and completed in November 2013.

The study explored speech and language therapy for aphasia delivered over the internet. The project looked at the effects of word finding therapy carried out using Internet Video Conferencing Technology. It investigated the effects of treatment on word finding and conversation. It also explored the support that people with aphasia need to use this technology and whether they liked receiving therapy over the internet.

Word finding difficulties are a common feature of aphasia, and cause breakdowns in communication. This can lead to distress and frustration. Speech and language therapy can reduce word finding difficulties and their impact on conversation. However, provision of therapy is often limited by resource constraints, and there can be difficulties accessing services particularly for people who live in remote areas or who cannot travel easily to clinics.

The study recruited fifteen people with aphasia and tested them using Face-to-face delivery of a standard therapy for word-finding, the same therapy delivered over the internet from a clinical site, and Supported Conversation delivered over the internet. A linked project, funded by the BUPA Foundation, tested the same therapy delivered over the internet with a further five people. Together, the results of these two studies will test the feasibility of a larger trial.

The study was a collaboration between researchers from the Division of Language & Communication Science, the Centre for Health Services Research and the Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design at City University London, together with the Adult Speech & Language Therapy department at the Homerton University Hospital Foundation NHS Trust. The grant holders are Professor Jane Marshall (Principle Investigator), Dr Celia Woolf (Project Manager), Dr Shashivadan Hirani & Stephanie Wilson.