“My GP didn’t seem to understand why my speech was a problem. He told me to go home and stop worrying about it.”
“I was told I would probably not have words again. I was devastated. Speakability gave me hope. I was determined to have a life and they helped me.” People with Aphasia need your help to promote greater awareness about this devastating communication disability, affecting more than a quarter of a million people in the UK.
Their needs are often overlooked because they have lost the ability to ask for the help and services that we are all entitled to.
Aphasia (sometimes called Dysphasia) is the loss of speech and language which can occur after a stroke or head injury, but can also be caused by a brain tumour or other neurological condition or illness. Aphasia can be temporary, long-term or progressive. In some cases, the cause of progressive Aphasia remains undiagnosed despite rigorous medical investigation.
Speakability (Action for Dysphasic Adults) is a national charity offering practical, empowering support and information to people with Aphasia and their families, carers and the health professionals who work with them. Speakability achieves this through a FREE Helpline 080 8808 9572, Website and on-line Discussion Forum, a range of helpful low-cost publications, training resources and communication tools.
Speakability is also rightly proud of its growing national network of nearly 90 long-term Aphasia Self-Help Groups currently assisting some 3,500 people across the UK. Practical support, sharing of experiences and the opportunity to make new friends, coupled with better understanding of their disability, offers members a sense of hope for the future.
Speakability also campaigns for greater understanding of Aphasia and improved services by being a “voice” for people with this, and indeed other communication disabilities. With more than thirty years of experience and a founding principle of involving people with Aphasia as Trustees, Staff, Volunteers and Members of affiliated Self-Help Groups, the charity works hard to ensure that every donation creates a positive difference.
The charity was founded in 1979 by Diana Law, who had personal experience of Aphasia following a stroke, and was formally registered with the Charity Commission as ‘Action for Dysphasic Adults’ in 1980. Speakability was adopted as the working name for the charity because so few people were hearing a diagnosis of Aphasia or Dysphasia and this was making it very difficult for them to get help.
The featured quotes are typical of comments from individuals contacting Speakability’s Helpline every day. There is currently no drug-based medication for Aphasia and GPs often find it difficult to know how to help people with Aphasia because they cannot make them better and they have not had sufficient training in dealing with this type of disability.
Speakability is using this year’s annual SPEAK ABOUT APHASIA MONTH which takes place in June, to ask health professionals, including GPs, dentists and opticians, who regularly work with people who have Aphasia, to make sure that they signpost people with Aphasia to the charities that can help and support them. Having the right information, and in an appropriate format, really can make a difference to the way people cope with this long-term communication disability.
Speakability Self-Help Group Members who live with Aphasia, have helped the charity to develop a pocket-size MEDICAL PASSPORT which is carried by the individual and offers them a communication tool based on pictures and a few words to assist them when they are talking to their GP or other health professionals. The MEDICAL PASSPORT, which was highly commended in the 2009 BMA Patient Information Awards, has proved to be a huge success and can be purchased from the charity’s Website for £5.00 (including postage and packing).
For further information about Aphasia, publications and workshops, your local Aphasia Self-Help Group or to make a donation, please contact Speakability on 080 8808 9572 or visit the Charity’s Website at www.speakability.org.uk
Aphasia information, support and training is also available from Connect at www.ukconnect.org