Patients are finding their voice again – using iPads and Kindles

20 Jun 2016

After suffering a stroke, many patients lose language skills – the ability to read, write or speak. We’re helping them with a project exploring whether common technology can be used to recover language and communication skills.

A patient with aphasia in speech therapy using an iPad A patient with aphasia in speech therapy using an iPad

Collectively known as “aphasia”, the loss of language skills is a common result of a stroke. In new research, Professor Jane Marshall and Dr Celia Woolf are using a £416,000 grant from us to examine the possible benefits for patients of using iPads, Kindles, Skype and other technology to re-connect with friends and family.

Readily available software can be downloaded and adapted to help stroke patients.

Apps being trialled include features that:

  • enable text to be read out loud – to help those with reading difficulties
  • can dictate text – to help those with writing difficulties, and
  • the use of Skype to practise conversation development with researchers.

If they prove effective, it could be a significant breakthrough for speech and language therapists – to be able to use fairly low-cost tools in their rehabilitation programmes.

The project is running at the moment and the team are already seeing benefits: one patient has started using software to write and share short stories, and another has been put in touch with a choir welcoming people with speaking difficulties.

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