Research Seminar: Fiona Menger

Date: 28 April 2016

Time: 12:00 - 13:00

Location: Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Computing, Queen Mother Building

Host: Prof. Annalu Waller

Title: IDEA Project: Inclusion in Digital Environments for Aphasia

Abstract: IDEA Project is Stroke Association funded PHD research aiming to identify the barriers and facilitators to Internet use by people with aphasia, and to develop and evaluate novel interventions to improve their Internet use. Aphasia is an acquired language and communication disorder, common after a stroke. People with aphasia are at risk of social exclusion and their difficulties with language and communication can diminish participation in Internet-related activities.

Stage 1 of IDEA research (completed) investigated how people with aphasia currently use the Internet, and whethertheir use is different from a demographically matched sample of stroke survivors without aphasia. Patterns of use were similar between the groups but differences emerged related to language and communication. There were varying levels of support and proxy use. People with aphasia were less likely to use the Internet but age was a stronger and more significant predictor. Barriers existed as a result of aphasia, but most often in combination with other factors.

Successful use of the Internet for people with aphasia is multi-factorial and a there is considerable variation in use by people with aphasia. Interventions to support inclusion need to be carefully designed to meet the needs of individuals.Stage 2 (in progress) is focusing on people with aphasia who had Internet skills prior to stroke. An experimental case-series design is being used to investigate whether behavioural interventions can improve digital skills and therefore social participation for people with aphasia. Interventions will reflect the specific needs of each person, and will be measured and informed by the World Health Organisation International Classification of Disability and Functioning. The interventions use existing commercial technologies, and are based on personally relevant goals.

The seminar will provide an overview of IDEA Project, presenting results from stage 1 and a brief outline of initial case studies from stage 2.

Bio: Fiona Menger has worked as a speech and language therapist for many years, and in 2012 was awarded a Stroke Association Research Fellowship to study (part-time) towards a PhD in the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Newcastle University. She combines her research on digital inclusion of people with aphasia with working in the Tavistock Aphasia Centre at Newcastle University, and occasional teaching and supervision of Speech and Language Therapy students. She is also a trustee of the North East Trust for Aphasia (


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