Talk Taster 27th February: Niamh Devane City University

We are really excited to hear about City’s latest research endeavours. Don’t know if any of you are more tech minded than us (not hard), but we had never heard of Second-Life, let alone thought of the therapeutic implications for people with aphasia. Well don’t despair as Niamh will guide us through it all on the 27th of Feb at our first meeting. Below is a summary of what she will be discussing, oh and we have added a link to the Second Life YouTube advert so that you too can get “down with the kids” !!

Project: Evaluating a Virtual communication environment for people with Aphasia (EVA)

Summary: Aphasia, a speech and language disorder, is one of the most devastating consequences of stroke.  While symptoms may be alleviated by speech and language therapy, many individuals are left with long term communication problems that profoundly affect their family, social and working lives.  Experiences of isolation and social exclusion are common.

New online virtual technologies, such as Second Life, have exciting potential for people with aphasia.  They offer a novel medium for developing verbal communication skills, and can simulate social contexts in which to practise those skills.  They also have the potential to reduce social isolation, since they create opportunities for virtual encounters and may build confidence for real life ones.

This project aims to find out if involvement in a tailor made virtual environment benefits the communication skills of 20 people with aphasia and reduces feelings of social isolation.  It will also explore ease of access to the environment and participants’ views about it.

The project will develop a therapeutic area within an existing virtual reality platform and will involve people with aphasia during this developmental phase.  It will therefore generate additional insights about the needs of people with aphasia in accessing new forms of technology and about how to meet those needs.

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