Tom - one of our peer volunteers - a young man with a grey jumper and short dark hair smiling at the camera

Tom volunteers with Aphasia Re-Connect, co-leading the Photography Group and co-facilitating the Young Person’s Group – this is his experience:

I chose to join in with Aphasia Re-Connect alongside volunteering at RNIB and the TFL Museum because it enabled me to meet other people who also have aphasia

I chose to become a volunteer because I’ve learnt Photography for the last 6 years and I believe it’s something that can be done as a hobby or a role, either by yourself or with a group so it’s ideal for those who have aphasia. It’s enabled me to practice my own personal speech and language skills by teaching others the routines that I’ve been learning over the last few years within the college. This is with the hope that it will lead to more of the people within Aphasia Re-Connect being able to confidently get out of the house by themselves to take images. It’ll be great to finally get out and show some of the team how to properly use their cameras or phones out and about at some point soon. I have actually included it within the Volunteer Experience section on my LinkedIn profile

Alongside the Photography Meetings, I also assist with the Young Person’s Group where we have breakout rooms and speak about some of the different things we’ve planned to discuss for those meetings. Those meetings, as with the Photography Group, are good to practice my skills in leading the class. 

One of the reasons for choosing to volunteer at Aphasia Re-Connect rather than just attending was because I truly don’t believe that having aphasia is the end of your life, which many people seem to think it is. I could easily just give up, sit back and do nothing, live on the company insurance or the UK benefits but that’s not what I want to do at all. I truly believe that people with disabilities shouldn’t just give up and quit work because companies don’t seem to think they’re ‘normal’, people with aphasia should always push forward to do more.

Now we’re here in 2021, things have progressed so much. I would have not been able to write all of this if it wasn’t for the use of tools such as the Spoken Content with Accessibility on the computer or just simply taking my time. Functions like that can be used on any system, phones or computers so anyone with aphasia can manage what they want to say if given enough time.

I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the likes of HeadwayEpilepsy Society and Aphasia Re-Connect

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