Aphasia iPad Partners NHS Tayside Speech & Language Therapy Adult Acquired Team

NHS Tayside Speech & Language Therapy Adult Acquired Team

NHS Tayside provides health care services in the Angus, city of Dundee and Perth areas. The adult acquired speech and language therapy (SLT) team provide assessment, and treatment to individuals with a wide range of health conditions which impact on communication or swallowing. This application is from a sub-team who specialise in therapy to patients with complex communication impairments. These impairments are often chronic and we support individuals at any time post-onset to meet their goals. Our partners in the application are Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and Dundee AAC research group (DARG). CHSS work alongside us to support individuals at home and in the community. DARG have developed a specific interest in the use of digital technology to aid individual's with communication impairments acquired after stroke, traumatic brain injury or other brain illnesses.

  • From 1st May 2017 to 28th February 2018
  • Award: £5,286 via Call 4

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Project plan

Project description

This is a collaborative project between the Dundee AAC Research Group (DARG), Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and NHS Tayside speech and language therapy (SLT). DARG runs the “Tap and Talk” aphasia iPad group (TaT). Through working with TaT, they have identified the need to train aphasia communication partners (ACP) in the use of iPads especially when they support people with severe aphasia (PWSA). Over two one-day workshops they will up-skill aphasia communication partners in iPad use. Two technology educators will teach key iPad skills which will be interspersed with training in practical application for communication support delivered by two speech and language therapists. Communication partners (such as spouses, family members, friends, staff from care facilities or volunteers) will learn how to use the iPad as a shared communication space in which partners and PWSA can co-construct rewarding conversations. A quality film will be produced through the training with the final product being uploaded to youtube. The project therefore has two key aims. Firstly, to achieve better conversations and interactions between people with aphasia and their partners through the multi-modal communication that an iPad offers. Secondly, over a longer period of time, for individuals with aphasia to increase their iPad skills through example, instruction and supported practice from their peer partner.

Project milestones

Phase 1

Content of workshops one finalised, second technology educator recruited, supported communication learning materials ready, dates set and shared, participants invited

Phase 2

Workshop One with CHSS volunteers, Revised and improved workshop content prepared, Workshop Two with diverse communication partner group

Phase 3

Review of video material, edited and published on Youtube

Phase 4

Review meeting with participants, final report submitted



Our project aim is to improve communication support to people with aphasia by improving the skills of their communication partners in using specific features of iPad technology. We did this by:

  1. Delivering 2 one day workshops to the partners of people with aphasia (with 3 follow up drop in sessions planned)
  2. Creating educational videos for 5 key iPad skills with examples of practical application in aphasia
    These videos will be published on a dedicated YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/aipp-youtube) and publicised through appropriate NHS Tayside and Dundee University websites and other means (e.g. Press Release, Social Media)

We have 3 additional "drop-in" sessions planned for delegates to refresh their knowledge and skills and to assist with trouble-shooting.

In this quarter we addressed 2 of our project aims. Our film maker is completing the edits of 5 video tutorials we have created to develop the skills of communication partners to use digital technology to support the communication of people with aphasia. On 22nd February we delivered our second workshop to aphasia partners at the University of Dundee. This followed a programme revised from our experience and feedback received from our first workshop in June 2017. We added practical demonstration and examples of using a skill before teaching it and included additional written instructions in the learners' packs.

Web page added (aac.dundee.ac.uk/AiPPworkshop)
Private instagram account created (aipp.dundee)
10 handouts created to cover topics in iPad skills not covered by Dyscover iPads document
Meeting with film-maker and format for YouTube skills videos agreed
Draft script for YouTube film on skill and use of "speech selection" written

This quarter we have concentrated on the early stages of production of YouTube videos to support the partners of people with aphasia to learn iPad skills and to be creative in using these skills to make interactions easier and more successful with people with aphasia.

We have agreed on 6 topics for 6 films: assistive touch, speak selection, saving and sharing websites, taking photos, using your contacts list and emailing a photo. We prepared a script and images to introduce the videos and made two pilot films. One film taught the skills and the second demonstrated the skill being used to facilitate communication with a person with aphasia. Our film maker prepared the pilot film for our critical review.

This process was an eye opener! We identified many ways in which the quality of the films and the potential impact they could have could be improved. This includes:
A new script with less complex visuals to introduce each film.
Use of a professional voice to narrate the introduction.
A prepared script for each skill being taught.
A narrative delivered by the educator on practical application of the skill instead of a demonstration with a person with aphasia.
This reflection means more investment in film making than we anticipated but as a group we are in full agree that diverting resources to this is beneficial.

We have now set dates for our final workshop in February 2018 and already have a list of 15 potential participants who are the partners of people with aphasia. Flyers for this workshop have been prepared and will be distributed through Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, NHS Tayside and University Networks. We have revised the content of this workshop from our experience of workshop 1 in June 2017 and this is detailed in a written plan.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: