The CommuniCATE Clinic

The CommuniCATE Aphasia Clinic at City, University of London is exploring the use of computer technologies in therapy for people with aphasia.  The clinic is headed up by the Director, Dr Celia Woolf.

CommuniCATE started with an exciting research project which was funded by The Barts Charity from 2014-2018.   It drew on expertise within the Division of Language & Communication Science and the Centre for HCI Design at City, University of London. The project team worked in partnership with speech and language therapists from Barts Health NHS Trust, and with the Stroke Association.

Since the research project ended in April 2018, the Clinic has continued to offer innovative therapies using assistive technology to people living with aphasia.  This ongoing work is charitably funded, and has been generously supported by grants from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Samuel Scott of Yews Trust, and through fundraising by the City, University of London Development & Alumni Relations Office.  Please do consider supporting our future work so that we can continue to develop and offer this specialist support to people with aphasia.

Practising writing with Dragon Dictation Aphasia Scripts – practising conversations for people with aphasia Close up of Dragon Dictation – producing writing by speaking

There were 3 strands to the original CommuniCATE research project:

  • Research undertaken in the first strand aimed to find out whether using technology in therapy can improve language and communication in people with aphasia, and if there are wider benefits for social participation and quality of life. We developed specific therapy programmes for reading, writing and conversation, many of which make novel use of familiar technologies, such as voice recognition and text to speech software. Our experimental studies have shown that these therapies brought about significant changes for those involved, and that those changes were maintained.
  • A second strand offered an Online Supported Conversation service to people with aphasia, using Skype. This aimed to reduce the social isolation that is experienced by many stroke survivors, build confidence, and enhance social participation.  This intervention also brought about positive changes, with people who took part increasing their social networks as a result.
  • The third strand aimed to support skills development in NHS clinicians. We offered training in the techniques pioneered by the project and worked alongside clinical teams to transfer knowledge. Student placements and internships helped to train the next generation of speech and language therapists.

Research Project Partners: City, University of London, Barts Health NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust, The Stroke Association.

CommuniCATE Research Project Funding: The Barts Charity

Since the completion of the CommuniCATE research project we are continuing to offer our innovative therapies free of charge to people with aphasia, and training students and clinicians in technology enhanced approaches to aphasia therapy.  This ongoing work relies on charitable funding.

We are also carrying out a new research project exploring use of assistive technology to support reading in a book club format through the READ-IT Research Project.  You can read more about it here.