Speech Therapy - Ataxia UK

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy

People with progressive ataxias often rank speech and communication problems as one of the top three symptoms of their condition.

Did you know it takes about 100 muscles speak? Muscles that have to work in close collaboration and with precision. Ataxia attacks the body’s ability to coordinate its muscles, including those used to speak and communicate.

Problems communicating can have significant impact on people:

  • frustration with others and themselves about not getting the message across
  • negative self-image or depression
  • less motivation to speak with others, leading to social withdrawal and isolation

In 2021 Ataxia UK worked alongside Professor Anja Lowit at Strathclyde University to develop an online speech therapy approach for people with speech difficulties.

The sessions were incredibly successful, and the group continues to meet and see improvements in their speech.

Read more about their experiences here:

Peter, Mark, and Heather.


About the Speech Therapy Service

The course is a combined individual and group practice approach for people with speech difficulties.

The course is 6 weeks long and begins with four individual sessions with our Speech and Language Therapist to help identify and practise what you can do to improve your speech. In weeks 3-6 there are daily hour long group sessions at 11:00am. This requires continuous screen time for the hour and can impact on fatigue.

The strategies include speaking with a strong, LOUD voice and articulating in a CLEAR manner.

The four weeks of daily group practice without a clinician, four times a week, and one weekly clinician led group session.


The Gift of Speech

Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to raise £57,589 through theBigGive, for our project The Gift of Speech, which is being used to provide Speech Therapy and Voice Banking for people with ataxia.


How can I join the waiting list?

If you are interested in taking part, please email volunteering@ataxia.org.uk. We will send you a short survey to establish how severely your speech is affected. When you return the survey, you will be placed on our waiting list until there is a suitable group for you to join.

Please note, groups cannot be convened until there are enough people at a similar level (of speech difficulty).


What you will need:

  • Availability to attend all of the sessions for 6 weeks:  
    • Four, hour-long, one-to-one sessions delivered on Mondays and Fridays during weeks one and two  
    • Four weeks of daily, hour-long group sessions, 11am-12pm Monday to Friday. 
  • A stable, reliable internet connection (the course involves around 20 online video calls) 
  • Good level of reading and verbal English - the course is delivered in English, and involves reading and speaking in English 
  • Screen time – The sessions are held over Zoom and are an hour each. This much screen time can cause discomfort and fatigue. If you think you may experience problems, please let us know and we can talk through some options with you.

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