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Winning ways

about ten minutes. Verbs are assessed before nouns. There are three practice items. Each clip is shown in turn and the person with aphasia is asked to watch the clip, wait until the screen goes blank, then to tell the examiner in one word what is happening (for verbs), or what it is (for nouns). The theoretical basis of the test appears very sound. In practice the following can occur: 1. Nouns are produced on the verb section eg. tree for decorate, bubbles for blow, cards, a game or playing cards for win, getting an injection, got hiccups. This tended to happen before the screen had gone blank. The person adhered to the instructions for the practice items at the beginning, but repetition of the instructions was often required during the assessment. 2. Possible ambiguity or semantic errors Verb section: Carry walking Choose eat Mow cutting Arrest stop or mugging - this may be particularly ambiguous in Scotland as the police helmet is dierent to that in the video clip, so people may not necessarily recognise it as police Kiss sneezing Whisper smooching Nod speaking Noun section: bean pea pod castle church cap hat It was interesting to note that most of these occurred on earlier items in the verb section, but throughout on the noun section. 3. Scoring Appropriate nouns or verbs may be produced, but not the targets eg. scribble for colour, handing a parcel for deliver, and writing for sign. People with aphasia appeared to like this assessment. They suggested that the pictures could be made clearer - some too dark (eg. stairs). Overall, this is a very useful assessment to investigate and compare noun and verb production. I would certainly consider using this tool in clinical practice where appropriate. It would be even more benecial to clinicians if the test could be produced on DVD. Annette Cameron is a speech and language therapist working with the Mobile Stroke Team at Aberdeen Royal Inrmary. She is also membership secretary of the British Aphasiology Society.

What should I tell you?

have been writing for Speech & Language Therapy in Practice for nearly five years. When Avril first asked me I was delighted and not a little daunted. Still, as I am not one to turn down an opportunity and had a little knowledge of the work of speech and language therapists, I said yes immediately. Over the years my interest in and admiration for the profession has grown, and I have been educated as I have gone along. But when it comes down to it speech and language therapists are people - and people the world over have challenges, obstacles and opportunities in equal measure. My mantras throughout Winning Ways have been: The way we see the problem is the problem. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Dont try to find a way to happiness, happiness is the way. To be able to choose our attitude in any given situation is the greatest freedom. Through the course of this year and last I have been seriously applying these attitudes to my own life and work. If we have a dream and a passion, it is vital to acknowledge the hints, hunches and directives that come from deep within. It was my goal to compile a book about my younger sister Margaret, who died from cancer twenty six years ago at the age of 31. She left behind a tape for her son Francis, who was two and half when she died. She stipulated that he was not to hear it until he was 21. This came to pass and my book is a consequence of what happened next. Seeing the book come to fruition has emphasised to me that, if a thing is worth doing and you feel driven to do it, dont let anything stand in your way. I knew at a very deep level this was something I had to do. So when the obstacles appeared - and they did! - I was able to see them as just obstacles. Because the vision was so clear, there was a solution to each one. In February 2007 I made the scrappiest dream board in the world, but on it I included what I wanted to achieve before April 2008. All is concluded only a month later than my target, pretty good timing in the world of publishing. Now the dream board was actually stuck behind a cupboard and I had completely forgotten about it. The book idea hit a major log-jam last summer and the shape of the whole thing changed six months ago. Still, here it is - a real live book. It is immensely satisfying for me just to look at it, let alone think about the job it may do. I believe the book was quietly heading for completion even when I wasnt working on it. Through the gestation period I wasnt thinking, This is the dream coming true. It was much more plodding and pedestrian. To put our attention and consideration into a goal is one thing, but it is important to release our attachment to the outcome. It will happen when it happens; it will be as it will be. Knowing deep down that it is the right thing to do keeps up the momentum. Time and energy are not spent stressing about the outcome and you are carried downstream. I know from all the phone calls and coaching sessions that many of you have dreams of how you can improve or change the profession or your position in it. So I can only say, set your intention, believe in yourself, dont let nay sayers put you off, release your attachment to the outcome - and go for it! Jo Middlemisss newly released book with CD What should I tell you? A Mothers final words to her infant son is available for 9.95 + p&p from Jo, telephone 01356 648329 or order online at www.printmatters.info. A percentage of all proceeds is donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care. Jo is a qualified Life Coach who offers readers a confidential complimentary half hour telephone coaching session (for the cost only of your call).

Life coach Jo Middlemiss encourages you to believe in your dreams.