UCL Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre


DCAL working with the Cognitive Disorders Clinic

26 February 2012

Do you know a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user who has developed memory or thinking problems? Appointments are now being offered for Deaf patients at a top UK neurology hospital.

DCAL is working with The Specialist Cognitive Disorders clinic, at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queens Square, London to provide assessment services to Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users worried about their memory or cognition.

Diagnostic assessment of neurodegenerative conditions for Deaf people has traditionally been problematic due to a lack of standardised neuropsychological assessment tools in BSL. New cognitive screening tests are now available at the clinic which is accepting referrals of patients who are Deaf BSL users. Deaf patients will be seen within the existing cognitive disorders service for full medical and neuropsychological assessment. Team members are fluent in BSL or use the services of a BSL interpreter. 

A UCL partner

The Cognitive Disorders Service runs in parallel with the Dementia Research Centre (DRC), part of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology (ION). The clinical and research components form a national centre of excellence for diagnosis and treatment of patients with cognitive problems, and the group is recognised internationally for ground-breaking research in dementia. 

You can find out more at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery website.
The DCAL contact for this service is: Joanna Aktinson

There are some important stipulations for patient referral:
1)    The clinic is only accepting referrals of Deaf BSL users with acquired rather
than developmental cognitive difficulties where a decline in function has occurred in adulthood, particularly those with suspected dementia or neurodegeneration.
2)    At present the clinic is unable to accept referrals of deaf patients who do
not know BSL. It is essential that the patient is a sign language user.
3)    Referrals are accepted from anywhere in the UK and should be made from the patient's GP and clearly detail the problem. The GP must state in the referral letter that the patient is a Deaf BSL user; otherwise they can not be offered an appointment that is suitable for Deaf patients.

The GP should send their letter of referral to:

Dr Cath Mummery

Consultant Neurologist

Specialist Cognitive Disorders Service

National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

8-11 Queen Square