At the outset, the Clinic’s aim was to dramatically improve people’s ability to communicate after a stroke. By making use of life-changing interventions through modern technology, the project focuses on enabling and providing vital therapy to those with aphasia. Indeed, for those living with this condition, the Clinic is now ensuring that stroke survivors receive at least six weeks of communication therapy. The Clinic’s reach is also extending with the exploration of innovative models of delivery such as a greater use of therapy and an increase in the number of practical applications that can be run on smart phones and tablets. Through research and publications the Clinic is also making a vital contribution to the knowledge base of colleagues in the NHS and beyond. And let’s not forget the considerable benefits that the Clinic provides to our Speech and Language Therapy students through placements and internships, developing and guaranteeing skills in novel therapies and ensuring that the project is sustainable.
We caught up with Eve, now a graduate, who undertook a placement with the Clinic:
Eve Samson studied for an MSc in Speech and Language Therapy, graduating in 2019. As part of her MSc, she undertook a placement at the CommuniCATE Clinic, and after finishing took up a role with the NHS in Surrey.
Eve thoroughly enjoyed her MSc, choosing City because of its unsurpassed reputation for Speech and Language Therapy. Her path to Speech and Language Therapy came about through previous roles and her first degree. Out of a love of languages, she chose to study Italian and French at Warwick and grew passionate about translation. This passion solidified when she went on ERASMUS in Italy, studying in the north in Bergamo. After graduating she undertook a role with British Airways as part of their cabin crew. Her passion for communicating was clear to her in interactions with passengers and other staff. This eventually led to a big career change decision, and her pursuit of speech and language therapy.
Eve’s placement at the Clinic was alongside three other students, and they worked three full days per week. She was an integral part of the reading and writing groups and quickly realised how essential she and her fellow students were to the clinic’s work and clients. If the students were not there, the clinic would not run. This responsibility made her feel incredibly valued and she rose to the occasion. She was also struck by the superb organisation of the clinic. Things were done professionally and properly and there was clearly a far-reaching impact being made on the clients. Eve places the Clinic’s importance in bringing technology to those who need it the most, and ironically, those who may not have been totally au-fait with this technology before their aphasia diagnosis. That this technology, which is usurping pen and paper, can be brought into the realm of those who truly need it, helping them communicate with family and friends, cutting down on isolation, is essential. As Eve remarked, “the Clinic is innovative, on-trend, and forward looking … Subsequently the clients become forward looking too”. The reactions of the various clients are incredibly emotive.
The essence of what CommuniCATE is trying to do, is captured in the simple words of one of Eve’s clients who was undertaking a writing strand of therapy using an iPad. “You’ve helped me so much and I have had my ability to communicate returned to me!” In particular, he has found the basic ‘Notes’ application particularly helpful. Through setting goals, ones initially very difficult to achieve, his use of this application has now become second nature.
Eve is now working as an NHS therapist in Surrey, dealing with adults who have acquired communication difficulties and swallowing difficulties. She hopes to stay in this field and perhaps explore areas such as dementia and aphasia. Indeed, Eve loves the sense of community in her current role. Staying in a particular area for a long time will give her the opportunity to see the impact of her work and how people overcome their difficulties through her help.
Find out more on the CommuniCATE Blog: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/communicate/