Haven for people with aphasia

Haven for people with aphasia
Dr. Helen Kelly, UCC lecturer in speech & language therapy, (second from right) pictured at the launch of Cork City's first Aphasia friendly café at the haven café, Bachelor's Quay, Cork, with (from left) Emma Fee, Rachel Boland, Joseph Nyland and Éanán Finnegan of UCC Clinical Therapies Society. Pic: Denis Minihane.

A SPECIAL coffee day was hosted in the city for people with speech difficulties caused by a brain injury. 

The city’s first “Aphasia-friendly” cafe took place at the Haven Cafe, Batchelor’s Quay.

The event was a result of more than a year’s worth of research conducted by members of University College Cork (UCC) Clinical Therapies Society, a group made up of occupational therapy and speech therapy students.

“It was amazing,” UCC student and project leader Rachel Boland said.

“We had an amazing turnout, and there has been nothing but positive feedback.” 

Aphasia is a disorder caused as a result of damage to the language centres of the brain, typically as a result of a stroke or head injury.

The disorder affects individuals ability to understand language and to use language to express themselves.

As a result, the disorder can often lead to isolation, according to Ms Boland.

The students spent the last year researching and setting up a place where people with aphasia can meet like-minded people, to practice their communication skills.

As part of this research, members of the group met people with aphasia to ask them what they want out of the cafe.

The Haven Cafe was "absolutely delighted" to participate in the project by agreeing to host the event, Ms Boland added.

The cafe’s staff were then trained accordingly and the cafe was also equipped with picture menus to make the ordering process more accessible for the cafe’s visitors.

Small changes were made to the cafe's seating arrangement to make it more accessible. The volume of its music was also lowered.

Ms Boland thanked Tim Jenkinson of the Havan Cafe as well as staff members Jose, Mary and Alan for attending to visitors to the cafe.

Previously there has been a lack of supports available to people with aphasia, according to Ms Boland.

“We’re now going to have monthly meetings for people with aphasia. All of the feedback we gathered was positive so it's on to the next step.”

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