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People with aphasia expressing themselves creatively


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This picture was painted by Tom Showell, a member of SpeakEasy, Bury.

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A Stroke of Genius

How can you express your feelings when words fail you?

Peter E
For Norfolk stroke survivor Peter Eccleshare the answer was to pick up a brush and paint.

Peter lives in Barton Turf, Norfolk, UK

He worked as an architect at Norwich City Hall from 1964-74, was chief architect at North Norfolk District Council from 1976-79 and Chief Architect at Waveney District Council from 1980-84.

Peter had a stroke and became aphasic in April 2003. He moved back to Norfolk in April 2004.

Peter is not an artist. He started painting after his stroke.

Click the link to view some of Peters works!

Maggie Turbitt

Award for Art - UK Life After Stroke Awards 2013


Maggie had a stroke age 45.

She had never painted before and didn't have a great interest in art.

Maggie was introduced to art by her sister Sonjie.

Now Maggie paints every week and believes it is essential therapy for her.

Maggie has sold some of her work at craft fairs and has set up two art workshops in the local area, enabling a further 20 stroke survivors to benefit from art therapy.

Ruth Codier Resh, Ph.D. - USA

My damaged brains were beautiful



Jennifer Hardy, Toronto, Canada

A message of invisible disabilities and life challenges

What suffered inside me


WSIM: "What Suffered Inside Me” is a short drama about a character named Simon that sees himself as an incomplete stick figure with crossed lines (horizontal and vertical) on his face.

He visualizes simple figures with only horizontal lines on their faces as unable to see his inner self.

The feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, and falling into darkness, represented by black blobs, can form clinical depression.

At the beginning of the film, Simon is having a meal with a dark figure.

Simon doesn’t have eyes to see the figure’s inner self and doesn’t understand him until the black figure begins to show his unhappy mood.

Simon notices the way that this figure is acting and his eyes begin to open.

Different scenes take place such as Simon’s flashbacks before and after his disability, and other suffering moments that he has experienced.

Using his imagination to express his feelings and memories, he creates an artwork — hung in a gallery — to let people see, share, and understand his invisible disability.


I decided to make this short film in my last year of OCAD University as my Drawing & Painting thesis project. Many of my old artworks didn't relate much to my personal self, and I eventually decided  to share the troubles that I was having in the past with my invisible disability, as well as incorporating the experiences of others that I have met struggling from clinical depression. I was also taking some Integrated Media courses, in which I learned about editing, film, video, etc, and started to combine what I learned together with that from my Drawing/Painting programs to make a personal, message-driven animation project.

I wanted to make a 2-dimensional classical style animation because I missed the old animated films by Walt Disney. Instead of drawing it in 3D or using a tablet and computer, I used the same old-style animation camera stand and light table equipment as Walt Disney. In this classical technique, a camera is hooked above a stand, aiming below at a translucent light box. Backgrounds and figure drawings are layered together on different sheets of paper, attached to the light box. Every frame movement is shot by a camera, after which the frame images are sent to a computer where they are put in order, ready to be tested and animated.

(English Edited by Erik Chan)

Gary E Bachers, Texas, USA

Silent Conversations



Gary is an artist in a small Texas town where he was a popular family physician.

His art career began after a 1987 stroke stole the use of his right hand more ..

Wendy, Australia

How I started painting again ..



I used to paint 30 years ago

Was at the shopping centre Christmas 2006

An artist was teaching children to paint

I thought …. I can’t talk very well with my aphasia but maybe I can paint again

I asked if he could teach me to paint “left handed”

He said “I’m left handed … I’m sure I can teach you”

So I sat down and painted with the kids that day

It’s still sometimes hard to control that brush with my left hand but eventually, we get there

Christine and Jack (Gloucester Speakability)

Gloucestershire, UK



Gerald Sheldon

Member of Doncaster Speakability, UK



This is my kitchen table: I was trying to catch the reflection of the mug in the chrome teapot.

Gerald had a stroke six years ago.

Before retiring, Gerald was a Surface Foreman at Brodsworth Colliery, in South Yorkshire.

Since his stroke Gerald has taken up Art and Woodwork as hobbies. His first project was to build an easel. Since then, he has made Dolls’ Houses, fire engines and other wooden toys for his grandchildren. Gerald recently invested in a lathe to make wheels for his fire engines. Since then he has started to make bowls.

gerald-s.pdf gerald-s.pdf
click this link for more..

'So and Sew'

Catherine Webb, Gloucestershire, UK











My grandmother was a dressmaker and did this for a living, and my mother did it as a hobby but I never learned to sew myself. One day after my stroke, feeling bored, I thought I would give it a go. It was always something I had thought about doing, but never had the time.

I started first all to do some rug making after my accident, just to help with my hand and for something to do. As my hand improved I decided to have a go with using a sewing. The first thing I tried was some cushions, which initially my Mum helped me cut out. As soon got confident doing these and made about six cushions and enjoyed the satisfaction it gave me in creating something..

Operating the sewing machine was difficult as my right side is weak and I had to learn to use my left, holding the material with the right arm (?) best I could, but I slowly got more confident using the sewing machine

As my hand improved a little more I then decided to try something different, with more of a challenge and I went to a Craft Fair with my Mum and saw some bag patterns. I then decided to have a go at these.

I found making the first bag quite difficult, not only having to follow a pattern, but also it was more fiddly to do, with the restrictions of my hand. However I grew in confidence and then started to make some different bags and really enjoyed. It gave me great satisfaction being able to make something after being so restricted following my stroke.

Jenny, who is 'Aphasia-Now' chairman, asked me to bring the bags to the Aphasia-Now conference to show them at the art exhibition. On the second day I had a stall and I sold seven of my bags!!

It really gave me a lot of satisfaction to realize I could make that something that someone wanted to buy.

My name is Trish Henson

Surrey, UK


I live in Horley with my husband Ian and daughter Nicola who is 20 years old.

My son Michael, who is 23 years old, lives with his partner Carly and 6 month old baby son Spencer in Copthorne which is a couple of miles away.



I had my stroke in 2003 at the age of 47.

Some years ago i was lucky enough to discover 'Dyscover'.

This has made my world a better place by giving me a wide group of friends to discuss our common problems.

I have also been able to try various activities one of which is pastel paintings.

Some of these are attached for you to see, i hope you like them as i have had to draw them left-handed which was not my dominant hand before my stroke.

I would encourage you to try some sort of art as it has given me a great deal of pleasure but i must say that it has come after a bit of trial and error.

If at first you dont succeed DONT GIVE UP!!

click the link below for more of Trish' pictures ..

Blue gives me peace

Jenny A, Quito, Ecuador

Before my stroke I was a medical doctor. In my 4th year of post graduate in public health I wanted to find out more about alternative medicine and practiced anthroposophical art therapy.

When I became a stroke patient at age 41 in 1998 I received art therapy for some time. I learned to use my weak left hand with the help of a big brush with an adapted grip.

I couldn't really draw but I observed, and mixed colours. After several years I went to college to learn to draw with my left hand, using different media.

In my landscape pictures I always use different tones of blue, as this colour gives me peace.

Moon in the Hills
This painting is my first painting in acrylic, on canvas 20" x 16".

It was painted before the winter started, based on observation.


This was my first painting in charcoal and pastel.


Ken playing the Euphonium

Aphasia took away his ability to read notes, but not his memory!

Ken Garrett is from Swindon, Wilts.
Prior his stroke he was a musician, but he had not played for 14 long years, and he had forgotten how to read music.
But, he agreed to play at our conference!
Watch the video and be amazed ..

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