Back in 2001, Speech & Language Therapy in Practice featured an article ‘Imprints of the mind’ about a group of people with aphasia from Dundee who had participated in an exciting research project ‘Expression’.
Christine Kingsley (then Farrell), who lectures in Design at the University of Dundee, was one of the staff members involved. I am delighted to hear that her interest in aphasia has continued. She is currently working with second year design students on an aphasia awareness project as part of a ‘Design for social inclusion’ brief.
You can follow the students’ work on their blog. They developed their ideas with the help of the Dundee Speakability group, meeting for coffee at the University’s Top of the Tower cafe. The students learned that a cafe – a favourite social setting for many of us – is a challenging environment for people with aphasia given the levels of noise, busy staff, time pressures and limited communication aids. The six teams of students then tackled their brief in a variety of ways. Although delighted with the support of the University catering service, Christine is disappointed that “other high street chains were non-commital and apathetic when approached by Speakability members.”
The approaches adopted by the 6 teams were:
- Team 1 – development of a visual talking wallet
- Team 2 – telling an individual story through sequences of photographs (suitable for people in the early stages of aphasia)
- Team 3 – a variety of hand held tools covering signage and menus
- Team 4 – i-phone apps
- Team 5 – a training scheme for the catering community
- Team 6 – an awareness campaign about aphasia using social networking strategies such as blogging.
The students welcome feedback on their work.