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11th International Conference on Frontotemporal Dementias

11th International Conference on Frontotemporal Dementias11-14 November 2018 | International Convention Centre Sydney | Australia

Masterclasses in Diagnosis and Behavioural Intervention in PPA

 If you want to register for the Pre-Conference Workshop/s only, please click the button below

Pre-Conference Workshop/s Registration

*Please note this Registration Form is only for the Pre-Conference Workshops for the ICFTD 2018 Conference. If you wish to register for the conference as well please use this link and you can register for the Workshops within your main registration.


Date: Sunday, 11 November 2018
Time: 9.00am - 12.30pm
Location:  Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney (94 Mallett Street,  Camperdown NSW 2050)

This workshop will offer a modular programme focussing on key issues in diagnosis and behavioural intervention for the Primary Progressive Aphasias (PPA).  There will be4 x40min masterclasses offered by leading clinical experts on cutting-edge topics related to clinical care for individuals with PPA and communication partners.

Speakers will focus on practical aspects of service delivery so that workshop attendees will leave with practical ideas/resources they can take home and use in their own services.  The workshop will be suitable for participants from a range of clinical, allied health and dementia care professions.


Session 1: PPA: Diagnostic Assessment and Pitfalls

Presented by Chris Hardy
Dementia Research Centre, University College London

This session will provide a framework for assessing language, tailored to the common presentations of primary progressive aphasia (PPA).  With reference to audio and video recordings, I will focus on the defining features of the major PPA syndromes, including ‘clinical pearls’ based on observations from the Queen Square cohort in London, UK.  Emphasis will be placed on potential diagnostic pitfalls, and I will also consider ‘problematic’ presentations that are not well-captured by the current diagnostic criteria.  By the end of the session, attendees will be able to confidently differentiate between the major PPA subtypes and know how to apply a diagnostic ‘roadmap’ based on conversational speech.

Dr Chris Hardy is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working in the Brain-Behaviour group led by Professor Jason Warren in the Dementia Research Centre, UCL.  Chris is currently the Co-Director for the MSc in Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research (Neuroscience) at UCL, and leads the national PPA Support Group run by Rare Dementia Support in London.

Session 2: Retraining speech production and fluency in nonfluent/agrammatic PPA

Presented by Maya Henry
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas, Austin

This masterclass will address treatment for speech production and fluency in the nonfluent/agrammatic variant of PPA.  A framework for improving functional communication via script training will be presented, along with immediate and long-term treatment outcomes from an initial group study.  In addition, multimodality and alternative/augmentative communication strategies will be discussed as a critical complement to restitutive intervention.

Dr.  Henry is faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas, Austin.  Her clinical and research interests focus on the nature and treatment of PPA, with over a decade of funded research in this area. The techniques to be described in this presentation have recently been published in Brain.

Session 3: Innovations in Group Therapy for PPA

Presented by Regina Jokel and Ffion Walker

Topic 1: Lexical retrieval therapy within the group format

Regina Jokel
Rotman Research Institute and University of Toronto

One of the unanswered questions in intervention for primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is how to deliver naming therapy in a setting that supports maintenance of gains from individual treatment and promotes social interaction.  This workshop will offer some suggestions regarding the format and content of a PPA intervention program that goes beyond the traditional one-to-one approach.

Dr.  Regina Jokel is a speech-language pathologist, scientist at Rotman Research Institute and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada.  Her clinical and scientific work for the past 25 years has focused on improving language function and quality of life for persons with primary progressive aphasia and their caregivers.

Topic 2: Psychosocial support for individuals with PPA and their partners

Ffion Walker
Carrington Health, Melbourne

IMPACT (Individuals Meeting with Progressive Aphasia CommunicatingTogether) was established in early 2017 to meet the growing need for people with language based dementia to find a place to connect with others in a supportive and encouraging environment.  The group is run by two experienced Speech Pathologists who simultaneously facilitate either the partner group or the group of individuals with language based dementias.  The monthly sessions are centred around themes such as identity, change, validation, grief and goal setting.  For the individuals with dementia, picture boards are created to both increase their understanding and to provide non-verbal yes/no options to key questions that relate to the topic.  This workshop will not only challenge you to ask questions about how we support both the individual and their partner, but more importantly, how do we help the couples foster relational integrity through the course of this debilitating condition.

Ffion Walker is a Speech Pathologist with 20 years of experience working with neurological disorders.  For the past 5 years her focus has been PPA and other language based dementias.  She has one of the largest caseloads of this type in Melbourne, Victoria.  Ffion’s passion is to trial new and innovative treatment options, and to provide vital support and practical advice to her clients to better equip them to manage PPA throughout the disease course.  Ffion also runs a support group called MENDERS, designed to support men whose wives have dementia.  She is also co-founder of a special interest group for Speech Pathologists in Melbourne who work with PPA.

Session 4: Communication partner training in PPA

Presented by Anna Volkmer
Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London

This masterclass will provide an overview of the current evidence base for functional communication focused interventions for people with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), the needs and wishes of people with PPA, their family and speech and language therapists, and the development of a communication training program called Better Conversations with PPA (BCPPA).  The underpinnings of the BCPPA program will be presented using video examples of conversation between people with PPA and their conversation partners.  By the end of the session, attendees will be familiar with the current research literature in this area, the clinical relevance of this approach and will have developed practical skills in identifying facilitators and barriers in conversation samples.

Anna Volkmer qualified as speech and language therapist in 2002 and has since worked across the UK and Australia with people with acquired neurological conditions.  Anna currently holds a National Institute Health Research Doctoral Research Fellowship and is doing her PhD at UCL under the supervision of Dr Suzanne Beeke and Dr Aimee Spector, mentored by Professor Jason Warren.  Anna is also a lecturer for the Speech Sciences MSc and the Dementia MSc at UCL, and has written two books, Assessment and Therapy for Language and Cognitive Communication Difficulties in Dementia and Other Progressive DiseasesandDealing with Capacity and Other Legal Issues with Adults with Acquired Neurological Conditions: A Resource for Speech and Language Therapists