Say Aphasia is a Brighton based charity currently offering drop-in groups across England and Wales and was set up over seven years ago. It is the only aphasia charity set up by people with aphasia for people with aphasia. Colin Lyall, founder of Say Aphasia and all of the peer leaders for their drop-in groups are living with aphasia. This really challenged their thinking as an organisation because they had to consider how to adapt all forms of communication used by their peer leaders, and it is constantly evolving. Every single form of communication which those of us who do not have aphasia do on autopilot, has to be altered to suit the needs of each peer leader individually. For example feeding back about their group in a meeting. Each peer leader helps the charity to understand the ‘communication ramps’ we all need to put in place to support their participation.

The fifteen drop-in groups provide a safe, relaxed space for people living with aphasia to meet other people who also have aphasia and to try out different ways of communicating with people who understand. The charity and the groups offer a sense of community for people living with aphasia. Showing that there is hope, while developing people's confidence, reducing isolation and improving well-being.
Given how few people know what aphasia is or how to adapt their communication when talking to someone who has aphasia, another important aspect of the charity’s work is to raise public awareness and understanding. The more people who understand aphasia, will make it easier for those living with it to do the everyday things we take for granted, such as ordering a coffee or buying a bus ticket.

Juliet Dicker-Holton