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The Tavistock Trust For Aphasia

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Very Early Rehabilitation in Speech: An RCT of aphasia therapy after stroke (VERSE), Edith Cowan University, Australia


The Trustees of The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia are pleased to announce that they are part funding the Very Early Rehabilitation in Speech: An RCT of aphasia therapy after stroke (VERSE) research project at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia. Over the next two years, this grant will support valuable research investigating the effect of early intensive aphasia therapy in the first six months following stroke.

Aphasia, a difficulty comprehending and expressing language affects more than 30 per cent of people who suffer a stroke.

Previous, smaller studies completed at ECU have shown that patients who received daily aphasia therapy as soon as possible following their stroke experienced less communication difficulties than those who received traditional treatment, which is usually provided at a much lesser intensity.

The research team, led by Associate Professor Erin Godecke, believe that the first 90 days post stroke represent a “window of opportunity” for neural changes to occur in the brain as part of neuroplasticity. Early therapy is thought to give people with aphasia a ‘head-start’ in recovery while the brain is open to natural healing processes. We used to think that aphasia therapy had to be done early, or the “window of opportunity” would close. There is also recent evidence showing that people with aphasia do very well in the chronic phase of recovery with intensive therapy. This should give hope to people with chronic post-stroke aphasia, and those who care for them, that significant gains can be achieved with intensive therapy years after stroke.

The VERSE study involves 246 participants from 16 sites across Australia and New Zealand. The study will provide vital information of international significance to the current evidence base for early aphasia recovery. VERSE will make the study resources available to clinicians and researchers around the world. This involves therapy training, therapy monitoring techniques and trial data. In doing this, the researchers hope to drive genuine and measurable clinical improvement in access to and quality of aphasia treatment for people after stroke.


The Robin Tavistock Award 2017

Joanie Scott

Joanie Scott

The Trustees of The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia are delighted to announce that Joanie Scott is the 2017 recipient of The Robin Tavistock Award, and she accepts this Award, representing all those who care for people with aphasia.

This Award is named after Robin Tavistock, the 14th Duke of Bedford who founded The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia. It is given annually to a person or group who is inspiring and who has made a significant contribution to the world of aphasia.

This year the Trustees want to recognise a specific group of people – the people who love, support and care for people with aphasia, but who are often in the background. These are people who, not unlike those with aphasia, are often hidden heroes, whose stories are inspiring.

More importantly, this group of people have over the years, collectively, made the greatest and most significant contribution to the aphasia world.

It is not possible to acknowledge each and every person and we are delighted that Joanie Scott has agreed to accept the Award this year, on her behalf and on behalf of those, past and present, who have dedicated themselves to caring for someone with aphasia.

Joanie would say that she has only done what any loving mother would do but what makes her stand out is that she has gone ‘above and beyond’, not only helping her own daughter but others with aphasia too.

Joanie Scott

Joanie Scott, right, with her husband John and daughter Sarah

Joanie’s daughter, Sarah, had a stroke when she was 18, in 2009, and has aphasia. With the love and support of her mother, her father John and her sister Coralie, as well as friends and other family, she slowly but surely made a remarkable recovery.

Right from the start, Joanie and Sarah thought not only of themselves, but also of helping the wider community. Together they made a series of YouTube videos that are designed describe aphasia and give hope to those who are going through what they’ve experienced. These videos have had approximately a million and a half views to date, and are used in universities around the world to help train medical professionals.

Joanie and Sarah have established an aphasia and stroke self help group in their locality, which still thrives today. They have also made numerous television and radio appearances, raising the profile of aphasia.

Sarah is now leading a full and increasingly independent life. Instead of taking a well-earned rest, and despite the fact that she too suffered a stroke in 2011, Joanie continues to be involved in the aphasia world, trying to support others wherever possible.

Joanie works with a number of aphasia and stroke organisations, always trying to raise the profile of aphasia, particularly through the use of social media. She has spoken at conferences both in the UK and abroad, as well as in schools and businesses. She actively keeps abreast of current developments in aphasia research and is always looking for opportunities to support those who are living with aphasia.

The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia believes it is time to recognise and raise the profile of those who are not professionals but who care, support and contribute so much to the well being of people with aphasia. We are delighted that Joanie Scott, on behalf of the many hidden heroes, is the recipient of The Robin Tavistock Award 2017.

Henrietta Bedford will make the formal presentation later this year, details to be confirmed.

To contact Joanie Scott: T: 01438 717805; E:


Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists

Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists

The Trustees of the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia are delighted to announce a 3 year grant has been awarded to The Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists to fund the 2nd Phase of its development.

For a long time The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia has been aware of the importance of continually advancing standards of research within the aphasia world. We are thrilled to be funding the 2nd phase of CATs. We are particularly excited that this means that the Collaboration can expand its remit; which means it can include research relating to aphasia that is not only stroke related. It will also be able to include aphasia research from the United States and members of the Commonwealth, and beyond. We are excited to see how the next three years evolve for the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists.

The Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists is an international, multidisciplinary network that currently comprises 150 members from across 26 countries. Established in 2013 with the support of the EU Cooperation in Science and Technology the membership includes experts in neurology, stroke rehabilitation, linguistics, neuropsychology, speech and language therapy, neuroscience, anthropology, audiology and statistics. Working in synergy across international boundaries, languages and disciplines this dynamic group support the development of high quality aphasia research which addresses the needs of people with aphasia, their families, health and social care providers and voluntary groups.

The 3 year grant provided by The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia will permit the early achievements of the Collaboration to be further developed, the network to extend its reach to members beyond the EU and in turn additional gains in aphasia research to be realised. With more emphasis on project work, grant development and capacity building alongside an even broader international reach, the second phase of the Collaboration will rely more on technology to support Collaboration communications. The Collaboration’s high quality interactive website ( will continue to support the activities of members.

“The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia funding offers us an exciting opportunity to further develop our multidisciplinary expertise in aphasia research and to develop an even broader international reach to undertake ambitious aphasia research activities. The new funding provided by the TTA will permit the early achievements of our research Collaboration to be further developed, the network to extend its reach to members beyond the EU and in turn additional gains in aphasia research to be realised.” Professor Marian Brady

For further information about the Collaboration please contact:

Twitter: @CATs_aphasia


Thank you Sylvia

We are sad to say that The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia’s administrator for the last 15 years, Sylvia Hemming, is retiring and will be leaving us on the 22nd December.

She was appointed by Robin Tavistock at the time when the The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia was becoming a reality, and has been a big part of the Trust growing into what it is today. The Trustees would like to thank Sylvia for her loyalty, dedication and for all that she has done over these years to support the work of the Trust. Many of you who are reading this, will have grown to know Sylvia and will be as sad as we are to see her go.

We wish her well and a very fulfilling and happy retirement, over many years ahead. We will not lose touch.

Samantha McMillan is taking over as Acting Administrator as we explore how we want to develop in the future. Contact details have not changed, email address: and telephone: 01525 290 002.


The Trustees of The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia [TTA] are pleased to announce that specially designed badges have been created for all recipients of The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia Student Prizes.

The Student Prizes are now awarded at all universities who teach speech and language therapy in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Ireland. The Trustees would like to invite all past student prize winners to get in touch with the TTA, so that a badge can be mailed to you.

If you are a past winner, please could you get in touch with the TTA via email; please include a current postal address. We look forward to hearing from you.

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