About the Book

It's a Thing is a new original book written by Ian and Cathy Marshall, with illustrations by Kate McCullough about one man's struggle to say the words he wants to say. It was commissioned and published by the Centre for Brain Research "More than Words" Gavel Club for People with Aphasia, thanks to funding from the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research. The Gavel Club is a 'toastmasters' style public speaking and conversation social group run for people living with Aphasia. The Gavel Club is a joint initiative of the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research and the University of Auckland school of Speech Science which has been helping people with aphasia to gain confidence, and grow their verbal communication skills since 2012.

Every day about 24 New Zealanders have a stroke and one in three survivors is diagnosed with aphasia. Approximately 17,500 New Zealanders live with aphasia; most of these are older, although young people can also have aphasia after a stroke. Aphasia is a devastating communication disorder that robs people of speech and language. This communication impairment makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to participate in everyday life including working, telling a story, sharing a memory or conversing.

It's a Thing was written by Ian and Cathy Marshall in 2013 for the Gavel Club's annual end of year speech competition. Cathy wrote most of the words, and Ian won the competition with his outstanding delivery. This book has been a work in progress since then! It's such a delight to finally be able to get Ian and Cathy's words out there.

To find out more about Ian and Cathy and how they wrote It's a Thing check out our "About the Story" page.

Ian, Cathy, and Kate have been working hard with a dedicated behind the scenes team for almost 2 years to make this book a reality. This book exists thanks to the efforts of Celia Moore, speech language therapist and director of the Gavel Club; Suzanne Purdy, principal investigator with the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research; and Rebecca Stubbing, an enthusiastic volunteer. The team would also like to thank Sue Giddens from the Centre for Brain Research for her guidance.

At least $5 from the sale of each copy of It's a Thing (paperback or e-book) goes directly to the Gavel Club to continue their work supporting people living with Aphasia.