Aphasia rehabilitation program that saved Paul Fraser's speech expands over three Australian states

8 March 2023

UQ’s Queensland Aphasia Research Centre Director Professor David Copland spoke with the ABC about the expansion of the CHAT program.

After Paul Fraser's stroke in 2021 he struggled so badly to communicate that speech was nearly impossible and reading was out of the question. 

His diagnosis with aphasia — a brain disorder that affects one in three stroke victims — shocked him and his family.

"I didn't know anything, even what it was called or what it was about," Mr Fraser said.

His wife, Julie Brown, couldn't travel from the couple's Byron Bay home to see Mr Fraser in his Brisbane hospital bed due to COVID restrictions at the time.

She had never heard of the condition either.

"I was at home by myself, googling aphasia, and not really knowing how bad he was or what the prognosis for improvement could be," Ms Brown said.

Aphasia, which stalled Bruce Willis's acting career in 2022, is often linked to stroke or head trauma and can affect speech, a person's understanding of other people, and the ability to read and write.

Professor David Copland, the director of the Queensland Aphasia Research Centre (QARC) at The University of Queensland, said it was debilitating.

"When someone loses their communication ability it can lead to [a] significant risk of depression and social isolation," Professor Copland said.

"How we communicate either restricts or enables a lot of activities in our everyday life, so we take it for granted."

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The original UQ article was also picked  by AAP and NBN News