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        • » Missing Voices: Communication Difficulties After Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury in Indigenous Australians

Missing Voices: Communication Difficulties After Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury in Indigenous Australians



This study aims to examine the extent and impact of acquired communication disorder (ACD) in urban and rural Indigenous Australians in Western Australia.

ACD is a common result of stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and has a devastating impact on survivors' everyday lives. Stroke and TBI occur more than twice as frequently in Indigenous as in non-Indigenous populations, but current uptake of communication rehabilitation services is low and long term outcomes for the individuals are unknown.

The experiences of Indigenous people with an acquired communication disorder are likely to be different from non-Indigenous people in terms of access to health services, manifestations of the disorder, construction of the problem, and ultimately, as a result of these cultural differences, engagement with treatment modalities.

The 3-year, mixed methods study is being conducted in metropolitan Perth and five regional centres in Western Australia. Situated within an Aboriginal research framework, methods include an analysis of linked routine hospital admission data and retrospective file audits, development of a screening tool for ACD, interviews with people with ACD, their families, and health professionals, and drafting of alternative service delivery models.

This project will be funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Abstract adapted from the National Health and Medical Research Council


Professor Elizabeth Armstrong
Acting Head of School and Foundation Chair in Speech Pathology
School of Psychology and Social Science
Edith Cowan University
270 Joondalup Drive
Joondalup WA 6027
Ph: (08) 6304 2769
Ph: (08) 6304 5101
Fax: (08) 6304 2640

Related publications

Katzenellenbogen JM, Atkins ER, Thompson SC, Hersh D, Coffin J, Flicker L, Hayward C, Ciccone N, Woods D, McAllister M, Armstrong EM (2016)

Missing voices: profile and extent of acquired communication disorders in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adult stroke survivors in Western Australia using linked administrative records.

International Journal of Stroke; 11(1): 103-116

Armstrong E, Hersh D, Katzenellenbogen JM, Coffin J, Thompson SC, Ciccone N, Hayward C, Flicker L, Woods D, McAllister M (2015)

Study protocol: Missing Voices - communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal Australians.

Brain Impairment; 16(2): 145-156

Armstrong E (2014)

Australian Aphasia Rehabilitation Pathway: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations: best practice statements.

Retrieved 2014 from

This web-based resource aims to encourage culturally appropriate working practices for speech pathologists working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been affected by a stroke.

The 12 statements outline the following attributes of best practice:

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Last updated: 27 March 2017
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