Aphasia (or dysphasia) is the term for neurological problems with communication and language, including speech, reading and writing. It can present after a brain injury (including stroke and traumatic brain injuries) which causes damage to the parts of the brain responsible for processing and producing language. It is estimated that around one third of people who survive a stroke will be left with some form of aphasia.
You can find more information about communication problems after stroke in a publication from the Stroke Association here.
There is also a form of dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia which causes a degenerative loss of language ability. You can find more information about PPA from Alzheimer’s Research UK here.
Aphasia is NOT a hearing impairment and does not affect intelligence. However a sudden loss of language ability can feel very frustrating and can leave people feeling isolated and depressed.
Some people with aphasia find that although they can’t speak fluently they are still able to sing – particularly familiar songs which they know well. We know that singing, particularly in a group, can help to improve people’s mood and emotional wellbeing. This combined benefit has led to the creation of choirs for people with aphasia and other neurological conditions around the world.
Some of the first aphasia choirs were developed in Australia and New Zealand, including the Stroke A Chord choir in Melbourne and the CeleBRation choir in Auckland. The ReVoice choir at UWE Bristol is run by Music Therapy students and lecturers, and the Bath Aphasia Choir began as student placement project by a UWE Bristol Music Therapy student (see more here).
We operate as a Stroke Association Volunteer Led Group, and we are very grateful to both Virgin Care for providing initial funding support through the Feel The Difference Fund, and to the St John’s Foundation for funding the choir for three years as part of their charitable Project Support Funding scheme.
The choir meets on Wednesday mornings from 10.30 – 12 at the Bath Bowling Club, Pulteney Road, Bath, BA2 4EZ. If you or someone you know would like to join, please contact us.