THE PREMIER CHARITY FOR PEOPLE WITH APHASIA USING COMPUTER THERAPY TO ASSIST SPEECH RECOVERY

News archive

Speak With IT contributes to NHS NIHR Report

We are proud to announce that we contributed to a NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) report. In May 2016, the NIHR celebrated it’s tenth anniversary, researchers were asked to conduct research and produce reports detailing the impact of the NIHR funded work over the past 10 years. As part of this process our CEO, Carl Palay was contacted in March 2016 to contribute to the “NIHR at 10 – 100 case studies report”. As a consequence, the Speak With IT charity is discussed and our CEO, Carl Palay is quoted in the official report.


Following in his father’s footsteps

Son takes over as Chairman for Yorkshire charity after father’s resignation

Jeremy and Peter Shake Hands

Jeremy and Peter Shake Hands

After 5 years in his role as Chairman, Peter Garside, a stroke survivor, takes a well earned retirement from his role as Head of a Yorkshire stroke charity.

Speak With IT delivers long term, at home support to aphasia sufferers, picking up where the NHS leaves off.  Based on research at the University of Sheffield, the charity uses specially designed computer technology to help those with communication difficulties caused by strokes, brain injury and head trauma. Within the last 12 months, the charity has doubled both the number of visits to client homes and areas of operation.

Jeremy Garside, a Partner in a Yorkshire Law Firm, has taken over his father’s post and has ambitious plans to further the charity’s successes, he adds “there are however many out there who Speak With IT are at the moment unable to reach and the goal must be to grow the Charity to make sure we are able to support all those who need our help.”

 

 


Speak with IT on BBC Radio Sheffield

Carl and Pip

Rony Robinson, Carl Palay and Pip Garside

Carl Palay, CEO, Speak With IT and Pip Garside, Trustee and Volunteer of Speak With IT were delighted to be invited as guests of BBC Radio Sheffield on Monday 7 September 2015.

Carl and Pip were interviewed by Presenter Rony Robinson. Rony sum­marised the story concerning Pip’s husband Peter who lost his speech 15 years ago after having a massive stroke, he could not even say his wife’s name. After having 6 months speech & language therapy from Harrogate hospital his speech began to improve and after the therapy ended they purchased some aphasia software to go on his computer which helped him regain his speech. They helped form a charity called Speak With IT which they want to spread into South Yorkshire. Rony asked Pip to pick up the story after selling their business and starting retirement Peter had a stroke….

Pip recounted that Peter was in hospital for 3 weeks and was left suffering from aphasia and was unable to speak, unable to even say her name. Peter was given 6 months speech therapy by Harrogate Hospital and began to speak a little but he was determined to get “back to normal” which was his main aim. Peter purchased a self-help aphasia software program at £450 to use on his computer. Over time this helped Peter to regain his speech when used every day at home and 2 friends came to help him use the program. They did not know anyone who had had a stroke so joined a social group for stroke survivors called Speakability in York which was the nearest. There Peter met people who had had a stroke and were getting on with their lives, talking, going on holiday etc. which was inspiring. They met many people in other Speakability Groups in Yorkshire who knew how hard it is when NHS speech therapy comes to an end and they decided how good it would be to set up some help for people using computer therapy in their own homes. In 2011 they and 10 others set up Speak With IT and Pip said that was why she was here today. Rony asked what the charity is aiming to do and what does it want money for. Pip said Speak With IT requires money to spread their service into South Yorkshire – Speak With IT has been successful in West and North Yorkshire and given a lot of help to people by lending them a laptop with aphasia software on it for 3 months with the help of a trained volunteer. After 3 months people are given the chance to purchase the software at a reduced rate with the continued support of a trained volunteer for as long as needed. In the last 5 years Speak With IT have seen a great improvement in the speech of many of the people we have helped. Rony asked how Peter is today and she told him that Peter had driven her to Sheffield today, his speech is very nearly “back to normal” and only becomes affected when he is tired or he has too much red wine!  Rony asked how Peter’s speech is affected – was it lack of vocabulary or was it that he couldn’t remember the word and Pip explained that Peter knows what he wants to say but sometimes cannot say it which is very frustrating to him and a common form of “aphasia”- the condition people may have following a stroke. Pip confirmed that Peter’s determination, the NHS therapy and the computer therapy program has led him to where he is today.

Carl and client

Speak With IT CEO, Carl Palay, working with a Leeds client

Rony introduced Carl and asked Carl why he had got involved with Speak With IT and gone onto become the unpaid CEO. Carl who lives in Leeds but was originally from Sheffield explained that 3 years ago he decided he wanted to give something back to the community and searched on line for a suitable opportunity. As he has an IT background Speak With IT seemed the ideal choice and where he could add some value. Rony asked how Carl found the work to which Carl replied “it is amazingly interesting and satisfying work – I feel I have made a big difference to people’s lives”. Rony asked does it work and what do you do? Carl explained that each volunteer is trained and they go along regularly to our clients and provide support and motivation to people in their long journey to improve their communication skills.

Where Speak With IT differs from other support people have had in the past is that we have a powerful promise – which is from the day we start helping them we will never talk about discharge dates – if a person needs our help for 6 months, they will have it for 6 months. If a person needs our help for 5 years, they will have it for 5 years. Rony asked so what do you do – knock on the door and somebody helps you with the equipment? Carl explained that Speak With IT tries to raise money to purchase laptops and software to be available to everybody. We do not want the opportunity to be an onerous cost to a person at the beginning until we can see if it can be helpful or not. We lend the laptop and software for 3 months with the help of trained volunteer. It is essentially a self-help program – it takes speech & language exercises that were paper based and made them automated for a computer.

Our job is to provide support and motivation, to ensure the exercises are set at the correct level for a person to improve their skills. When we are not there the most import person is the person themselves – they have to buy into it to make a difference. Speak With IT have to ensure that the exercises are not too easy but conversely that they are not too diffi­cult when the person might become frustrated.   We have to check that they have used the program for at least 30 minutes per day and this can be easily checked using the software itself!   Carl told a delightful story about a gentleman he has been helping who has used the program regularly and whose speech has improved and who can now say over 100 words. One of the gentleman’s friends told Carl “You have brought my best friend back to me after 4 years”.

Pip then asked Rony to present Carl with a “Certificate of Achievement” for his 150th visit for Speak With IT – a task Rony was very happy to do. Pip thanked Carl for all the work he is doing for Speak With IT and his wonderful visits. Carl added that the reason he and Pip were here today was to raise awareness in the Sheffield area – his job as CEO is to ensure that if there is anybody out there who needs our help they can contact us.

Rory kindly agreed to post the contact details for Speak With IT onto the BBC Sheffield website.

Carl and Pip thanked Rory for inviting them onto his programme.


Presentation by Carl Palay and Pip Garside about the Charity, Speak With IT, to The Rotary Club of Ripon – 28 July 2015

Pip Garside Trustee & Volunteer Speak With IT, Chris Eyes President of The Rotary Club of Ripon and CEO Speak With IT Carl Palay

Pip Garside Trustee & Volunteer Speak With IT, Chris Eyes President of The Rotary Club of Ripon and CEO Speak With IT Carl Palay

Carl and Pip were invited to give a presentation about Speak With IT to the members of The Rotary Club of Ripon at their weekly meeting held at The Spa Hotel on Tuesday 28 July 2015.

Pip thanked the group for inviting us to their meeting, introduced Carl, our Chief Executive Officer, and handed over to Carl who gave the presentation. The presentation was extremely well received with one of the Rotarians explaining in a later thank you email that it had “stirred emotions” and was extremely interesting and enjoyable.

Carl has been performing presentations to Yorkshire Rotary groups for the last few months in a strategy to raise awareness of Aphasia and ensure that as many targeted people as possible are aware of the services we provide at Speak With IT, using specialised aphasia software on laptops to help those affected regain or improve the communication skills. Carl explained that one of the most heart breaking issues that he faced was that he knew there were people out in the community that could benefit from our support but may not be aware of us, and that has been a key factor in asking to speak to Rotary groups.

Carl also emphasised the Powerful Promise our charity makes to those we help – We understand it can be a long, difficult journey to improve speech but whether a person requires 3 months or 10 years of support we will be there supporting that person for as long as they need.

David Newton on behalf of The Rotary Club of Ripon thanked Pip and Carl for coming and giving such an interesting presentation.

Carl has also recently presented to the following Rotary groups

Rotary Club of Horbury and Ossett
Sheffield Vulcan Rotary Club
Rotary Club of Wakefield
York Probus Rotary Club

If you would like to request a presentation by Speak With IT please contact info@speakwithit.org


Presentation to The Probus Club of York by Carl Palay, CEO Speak With IT 

Speak With IT was invited to give a presentation to The Probus Club  of York at their March meeting which was held on Thursday 19  March 2015 at The Beechwood Hotel, York. Carl was accompanied  by Peter Garside, Chairman of Speak With IT and his wife Pip,  Volunteer Representative for Harrogate, as well as Sean Kavanagh who is the Volunteer Representative for York.

Carl Palay talking to Ken Sutcliffe

Carl Palay talking to Ken Sutcliffe

Carl began his presentation starting with the launch of Speak With IT in 2012 by Look North Presenter Harry Gration. Carl then went on to explain the aims of the charity which are to help people with  their verbal communication ability, this maintains their ability to  influence their environment, maintain social relationships and improve quality of life. Carl explained that the most powerful  message regarding our charity’s offerings, is that we differ from any  other means of support our clients have previously received as our support only ends at such a time that the client requests an end to  our service. As such Speak With IT will help people as long as is required – it could be 3 months or 10 years. We are there to support the person with aphasia as well as their family.

As at 19 March 2015 the charity has 8 Trustees, 23 active trained volunteers with 19 volunteers in training and 42 active clients. Since 2011 there have been 450 client visits.

Carl explained that we get referrals from Speech & Language Therapists, both from NHS Hospitals and the private sector. We lend out laptops with aphasia software for 3 months with the help of a trained volunteer. The first visit is free and then we charge £10 per visit to help towards travelling costs, however Carl was at pains to explain that as a Charity if we believe a client would genuinely benefit from our support but unfortunately could not afford the fee we would sanction visits at no  cost. After 3 months clients are given the opportunity to purchase the aphasia software at a  discounted price for use on their own laptop. We have held 33 comprehensive volunteer training  sessions since we started and our volunteers are provided with a Volunteer Handbook and Software Guidelines.

Speak With IT use two aphasia software programmes and Carl demonstrated one of these called StepbyStep to the audience on his laptop computer, Carl showed the range of exercises that can be selected to target a client’s individual learning needs. The other programme used is a cloud- based programme and so could not be demonstrated on this occasion.

Carl showed the meeting a map showing the areas we are currently working in, including York, and  explained that he is hoping to expand the charity’s work into adjacent areas i.e. Kirklees, Manchester and South Yorkshire (Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Dronfield).

The audience seemed genuinely interested and impressed by the presentation and posed several questions to Carl which he was happy to answer and after the presentation had finished, several  members came up to talk further with Carl as well as the other members of Speak With IT who were present.


Speak With IT CEO & Trustee Interviewed on Wetherby’s Radio Tempo 107.4 FM

Bairbe_McKendrick

Carl Palay, Pip Garside and Bairbre McKendrick

Carl Palay, CEO, Speak With IT and Pip Garside, Trustee and Volunteer of Speak With IT were delighted to be invited as guests of Radio Tempo 107.4 FM on Friday 13 February.

Carl and Pip were interviewed by Presenter Bairbre McKendrick who had obviously done her homework and a lively discussion ensued about Speak With IT and how the Charity helps people with aphasia following stroke or head injury in the Wetherby area as well as in other areas of Yorkshire.

Towards the end of the interview Carl used the occasion to officially thank Pip for her dedication and her incredible achievement of completing 100 visits. Pip was presented with an official certificate recognising the achievement and signed by the Chairman of Speak With IT.


Speak With IT celebrates extraordinary commitment from Volunteer

Volunteer becomes CEO of dynamic charity helping those living with the effects of a stroke

Carl_and_leed

Carl working with one of his Leeds Clients

Speak With IT is a dynamic charity that delivers specially designed computer technology help to stroke sufferers; its supporters (those at the ‘coalface’ of the life changing effects of a stroke – the family and friends) are passionate about the real benefits this technology can bring to individuals – so much so that one of its volunteers has just committed to steer the group for a year as its unpaid Chief Executive Officer.

Carl explained:

My experiences of helping several people over the last 18 months have convinced me of the merits of the great work and support we, as a charity provide to aphasia sufferers. The fact that Research at the University of Sheffield has shown using computer technology to treat the issues found with processing speech and language after a stroke is more effective than the usual stimulation offered in such cases, drives and inspires me to work towards making our support services available to as wide an audience as possible. For example, people using the computer software independently at home made significantly more improvement in finding the words they wanted than those who did not use computer treatment and our charity facilitates and supports this approach helping directly improve the quality of life of stroke survivors.

The trustees are delighted to have this level of commitment from Carl, whose career to date has seen him working at the top levels of the IT industry.  Carl will be hands-on, working with all areas of the charity from technological and administrative improvements to volunteer training and widening the reach of the charity throughout the North of England.

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