Aphasia Inside Out: Reflections on Communication Disability

Aphasia Inside Out: Reflections on Communication Disability

Aphasia Inside Out: Reflections on Communication Disability

Aphasia Inside Out: Reflections on Communication Disability

Synopsis

This innovative new book brings together a number of different perspectives on aphasia, a communication impairment that can follow stroke. Contributors include people with personal experience of aphasia, as well as therapists, counsellors, educationalists, linguists and researchers who address issues of living with aphasia in their work. Whatever their perspective, whether personal, theoretical or professional, contributors reflect on and explore aspects of living with aphasia that have little place in conventional academic discourse. Accordingly, the chapters cover a range of issues, for example aphasia and the Internet, time and poetry. The diverse contributions are drawn together by an introductory chapter and a linking commentary. Aphasia Inside Out suggests new ways of thinking about aphasia, offers insights into the nature of the disabling barriers faced, and explores some creative possibilities open to people who live with communication disability. It will be a valuable resource for any professional or layperson who encounters aphasia in the course of daily life.

Excerpt

This book, which is written as a collaborative effort by people with and without aphasia, is a timely contribution to the lives of people with communication impairments and to the field of disability studies. The book has a strong orientation to the social model of disability (without being constrained by it) and brings fresh insights into the particular barriers people with aphasia face. Many of these barriers are shared, to a greater or lesser extent, with other disabled people (for example, access to information, and issues around time) but communication barriers themselves have prevented people with aphasia from having a strong voice within the disabled people's movement and within research.

I first met Susie Parr and Carole Pound nearly ten years ago when they asked me to talk about the social model of disability at a conference for speech and language therapists. I was somewhat daunted by this knowing that the social model of disability had largely been formulated by people with visual and physical impairments and did not have much to say about the particular barriers people with communication impairments may face. I soon became aware, however, that Susie and Carole saw it as their mission, in full collaboration with people with aphasia, to discover where and how the social model would fit. This is reflected in their work at Connect, which features strongly in this book. Theorizing around disability is important but this book goes further by taking a strong practical orientation with many concrete suggestions and examples that can be put into practice by people with aphasia and by everyone else in society.

The experience of living with aphasia is central to all of the chapters and, as with all impairments and disabilities, illustrates a complex mix of joy, frustration, difficulty, stress, happiness, personal growth and fulfilment. The final chapter which celebrates aphasia poetry provides a wonderful example of 'disability arts' where disability is affirmed and . . .

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