ARG Talk Update

Dear All,


Just to let you know a copy of Prof Rosemary Varley’s presentation on how we treat apraxia is now available on our past presenters page (short link:


Look forward to seeing you all in September and don’t forget to apply for the seed-fund monies…..


Sharon & Firle


Reflections on yesterday’s meeting

Weather in Manchester yesterday, image courtesy of (wind_2820435b)
Weather in Manchester yesterday, image courtesy of (wind_2820435b)


A huge thank you to all of you who managed to make it yesterday, both presenters and audience we just hope that you all managed to get back home without armbands, falling over or any overnight stays in Euston!

We have set up a new page of previous speakers talks, here is a quick link :

It was exciting to see how ARG can be used as a platform for sharing research being done in both academic and clinical environments, and hinted at how useful ARG might be for those of us floating new research ideas and trying to ensure both their rigour and clinical relevance. It will be great to follow up Anna and Suzanne’s PPA quests later in  year to see what they have done with the information we all discussed yesterday.

If anyone has any further thoughts about PPA clinical pathways, tips for Anna’s research protocol or any other comments about Lara’s or my talk please do use the comment function of this blog to start a discussion (new year, new relationship with technology!!??).

All the best and we hope to see you all at our next meeting on the 4th June (Chandler House room G15), hey and maybe it will be sunny then!


Firle & Sharon.

ARG Meeting 6th November 2013: presentations now available

By Danilo Rizzuti, published on 15 January 2010 Stock Photo - image ID: 1001156
By Danilo Rizzuti, published on 15 January 2010
Stock Photo – image ID: 1001156


Hi All,

Just to let you know all of the presentations from our last ARG meeting our now on our previous presentation page (click here for quick access).

Thank you all for coming along, and we missed those of you who had wanted to come but were thwarted by the amazing UK rail system!

We hope that John’s presentation and subsequent discussion about his research idea has inspired more of you to bring any research ideas, issues or thinking road blocks to the group.

We would also appreciate any comments anyone had about the Research Generator workshop, complimentary of constructive suggestions for improvement- we want it to work for you all, as we know all of your time is precious.

ARG is here as a supportive group, aiming to nurture people’s passion for aphasia research. So please get in touch if you would like us to support you in your research journey!

Have a great Christmas and New Year (cannot believe we are already saying that) and ARG will see you all again in the New Year for our Feb meeting.

Firle & Sharon

7th August UCL Aphasia Research Group Meeting

Dear ARG Members,

Thanks to all who attended last weeks meeting, I think everyone would agree that we had three really interesting presentations, and Sharon and I are getting slightly better at making sure there is enough team & coffee for everyone!

One of the things we are really enjoying about ARG is the chance the group gives for clinicians and researchers to come together and find out what each is up to.  Our last meeting was yet another example of this we kicked of with Dr Celia Woolf talking us through her remote aphasia therapy feasibility trial,  in full swing as we type. Dr Woolf talked about how she and her team at City (with Homerton University Hospital) are comparing Face Time delivery of a tried and tested anomia therapy to face to face therapy and a supported conversation control scenario. So far, Dr Woolf said results suggest remote therapy can work. Dr Woolf touched on some of the challenges faced when establishing web-based working in the NHS, and has kindly agreed to give ARG with a low down of her experiences and tips for  setting it up, something we could really use help with!

Fiona Johnson, an SLT and MPhil student at UCL then spoke to us about her research (her presentation is on  the Previous Speakers 2013 page). Fiona explained that, as a clinician she found herself wanting to better understand what is what within therapy that changes to our client’s behaviours. Analysing the therapy session data from the Better Conversations with Aphasia (BCA) original therapy study using a health psychology behaviour change model Fiona explained which elements of  BCA therapy tasks might be making the real difference to our therapy outcomes. Her results were fascinating (we are not just saying this because of Firle’s links to BCA!) and really exciting.

As SLTs we really do need to start grappling with the black box of therapy. How do we really know where to put our energies? Exactly what is therapy? Unless we start to tackle this element of our management head-on I suspect we will find we all have different definitions & ideas and we won’t even realise! Do have a look at Fiona’s  work…

(right I’m off my soap box- Firle)

And of course, last but by no means least, Roisin Reade a full-time clinician in NE Essex came in and told us all about the fantastic work she and her team having been doing in Colchester with her Communication Partner Scheme (presentation is on the Previous Speakers 2013 page).  As we listened to Roisin speak we kept thinking how a bit of funding and one person’s drive can take a service a long-way. Roisin spoke about her communication partner team of 15 ‘trainers’ each of whom have aphasia themselves, and how she has led on expanding Connect’s Communication Partner Scheme to into a training programme for not only health professionals within her organisation, but also STL students in Essex University and very soon local businesses within the Colchester area, go Roisin & team!!

This sparked an interesting discussion with the group. Does work like this strengthen or weaken the status of SLTs within NHS services with every shrinking budgets? In NE Essex Communication Partner Trained is an adjunct to SLT, but other ARG members expressed concern that their commissioner may see this as an alternative service.  This lead to  a discussion about how to tackle this, with ideas shared about how we could prove the effectiveness of this type of work alongside direct SLT interventions.  Within 15 minutes ARG had set Roisin up with about 5 different research projects!

However, these discussion do lead on to the value of this group. ARG is a useful starting platform for new research ideas. Our meetings are a precious resource for all of us to use to gain access to expert research and clinical links so that we can share, test and revise new research ideas. In this spirit our next meeting in November is going to focus specifically on this element of our work: collaboration.

There will be a practical element to the afternoon and were we will all put our heads together to work up practical research projects (both small and large) from one person’s clinical dilemma/early research thoughts. It will be great, promise!

More information about our November session will be posted in late September, but in the meantime if anyone has any ideas/thoughts they think they might like us to focus on, do get in touch!

Enjoy the rest of the summer,

Firle & Sharon


ARG Meeting 2013


Dear All,

Sharon and I would just like to say thank you to our speakers and to all of you who turned out for the event. It was fantastic and you surprised us all with your enthusiasm in other words apologies that we had not put out enough chairs and ran out of hot water before you all got a coffee!

Asides from those slight hiccups, we hope that you found the talks thought-provoking. Sharon and I are planning how we can best use this blog and at least some of the ARG events to really get you all mixing as clinicians and researchers and discussing how to move research ideas forward together.  Any suggestions or specific queries you may have about this- please do send to us and we will see what we can do. I know that City University are thinking about holding an event specifically focused on collaboration between clinicians and researchers so watch this space and as soon as we know more we’ll let you all know.

As ever we will be posting the speakers talks on the blog past meetings page:

Link is here: 

and I will let you know as and when they are available.

Have lovely, sunny bank holidays and we will see you back at the ARG hub in August.

Firle & Sharon.

ARG’s First Meeting- A Success!!


A massive thank you to the twenty-nine clinicians and researchers who turned out for our first meeting yesterday. We hope that you found it as interesting and fun as we both did.

The mind boggles at what technology can potentially do for our client groups in the future. We clearly need to get our skates on if we are all going to keep up with the technology the EVA team showed us yesterday! But, if  FREE (!) e-learning tools like the “Better Conversations with aphasia” is the start of a new trend, then gaining this knowledge will  be easier than we thought…

Links to both research project power-point slides are to follow (promise) so please do spread the word to our teams and colleagues about both exciting new research projects.

We now have some fantastic ideas from you all about how to take ARG forwards and over the next few weeks we will be carrying out some furious planning to make sure that the clinicians and researchers among us get the most out of being an ARG community member. For those of you of were unable to attend yesterday, or have just forgotten what we agreed,  here is a brief summary of suggested uses of ARG Meetings:

  • platform for presentations from active research programmes
  • forum for researchers to gain clinician’s opinions on current and proposed research ideas
  • “safe-space” for PhD students to present their ideas to interested people
  • opportunity to share up to date knowledge about an area of aphasia research or intervention (any brave PhD students out there wiling to share their literature review?!-gulp!)
  • place for clinicians and researchers to “buddy-up”  so that research is meaningful to clinical practice, and clinicians can find opportunities to become more research active

We agreed that each meeting will be topic specific. ARG members are suggesting topics and we are compiling them into a list (see topic page on this blog for details:

I think that is all for now. As soon as we have yesterdays power-point presentations we will place them on the blog.

Thanks once again for a fantastic turnout and see you at the next meeting on Wed 1st May.

Firle & Sharon

Dates for ARG Meetings 2013

Hi All,

Here are the dates for the first four meetings. They will all be held at Chandler House (address below) in the basement room (B02) between 3-5pm.Our FIRST meeting, is Wednesday 6th February, please do come along, this is your chance to influence what happens in the meetings later in the year!

Further meeting dates for 2013:

2. Wednesday 1st May

3. Wednesday 7th August

4. Wednesday 6th November

We will have the agenda for each meeting posted on the blog at least 2 weeks before the meetings.

All the best,

Firle & Sharon

Chandler House

2 Wakefield Street

London WC1N 1PF