Speech Science Seminar Event as iCalendar


25 November 2014

7:30 - 8:30pm

Venue: Function Room 220, Building 730, Tāmaki Innovation Campus

Location: 261 Morrin Road, St Johns, Auckland

The assessment of mental capacity in acquired neurogenic disorders: The contribution of speech language therapists


Alison Ferguson - University of Newcastle, Australia
Selena Donaldson - University of Auckland, New Zealand


In order to demonstrate decision making capacity, an individual needs to communicate their understanding and wishes. However, decision making capacity can be masked when communication is impaired by brain damage, for example, through impaired receptive and expressive language or unintelligible speech. For this reason, people with aphasia and related neurogenic communication disorders can be significantly compromised in their ability to participate in decision making, and yet they have a human right to the support required to facilitate such decision-making and to exercise their legal capacity (United Nations, 2006). Speech language therapists’ assessments and skills in communicating strategically can inform the work of the multi-disciplinary team in maximising a person’s communication ability so that they can contribute to making the many life-changing decisions they face. We present guidelines and practical strategies for speech language therapists’ work in this area.

United Nations. (2006). United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convention_accessible_pdf.pdf, retrieved 21 February 2014

About the presenters:

  • Alison Ferguson is Professor of Speech Pathology at University of Newcastle, Australia and in this presentation will draw on her research into current speech pathology practice in the area of legal and related decision making.
  • Selena Donaldson is a Professional Teaching Fellow in Speech Science at University of Auckland with medico-legal experience in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Further information:

Email: Suzanne Purdy sc.purdy@auckland.ac.nz or Selena Donaldson s.donaldson@auckland.ac.nz