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Meet people living with aphasia

Gerald Hartup

Gerald Hartup had a stroke three years ago and now has severe aphasia.  He can follow and understand conversations and can read if the text is clear. Gerald has just a few words of speech.

In this interview, he gets his message across in different ways. He uses speech, writing words, crossing out words, pointing to written material, drawing and gestures. He also brought ‘props’ to illustrate his message – his diary, meeting notes, theatre tickets, a framed cartoon, a book, a certificate and three magazines.

Gerald is on the editorial group for Get Connected, our newsletter. He comes up with new ideas and gives feedback on articles. It was Gerald’s idea to introduce bullet points at the end of some articles.

How would you describe your aphasia?

For me, too much written information is hard. If written information is in ‘bullet’ form, it is easier to read.

What did you do before you had your stroke?

I taught maths, I made films. I was a civil servant. Then I became Director of the Freedom Association, as well as a Southwark Councillor.

What do you most enjoy doing now?

I like going to watch Millwall. I only go to the home games. I went to watch the Millwall versus QPR game last Tuesday.

What is the biggest challenge for you in living with aphasia?

Not being able to speak!

What do you do at Connect?

I come to the weekly conversation group. They are marvellous – very good. I go to the Tate Modern and take part in art groups there. I help to edit this newsletter and I am on the South East London Aphasia Hub.

How has coming to Connect made a difference for you?

I like everything I do at Connect – it’s all very good.

How would you spend a Lottery jackpot win?

I would like to travel to America. I would give some money to the Freedom Association and to Connect!

What are your three top tips for someone who has just acquired aphasia?

When you watch the television, use the sub-titles to help you understand.

I am inspired by some of the people I meet at Connect. They’re good. So, have patience and keep trying.

Can you sum up Connect in one phrase or gesture?

Everything helps us.

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Gerald Hartup