This paper describes the changes in communication skills, knowledge and confidence in Speech Language Therapy (SLT) students in conversations with People With Aphasia (PWA) after Training Con-tAct, a Dutch Communication Partner Training.
Methods: On a voluntary basis, nine SLT students (2nd yr) completed Training Con-tAct, in which People With Aphasia (PWA) were involved as co-workers. A mixed method design with pre- and post-measures was used to analyze the students’ communication skills, knowledge and confidence. A quantitative video analysis was used to measure changes in students’ communication skills. Besides, a self-report questionnaire was used to measure the changes in students’ knowledge and confidence regarding their communication with PWA. To evaluate the perspectives of the students on Training Con-tAct, additionally a focus group interview was held.
Results: Regarding students’ communication skills the outcomes revealed a significantly higher score on the ‘supporting’ competence in students who took part in Training Con-tAct. The mean scores for the ‘acknowledging’ and ‘checking information’ competences did not improve significantly. The outcomes of the questionnaire showed students gained more knowledge and confidence regarding communication with PWA. The focus group interview provided insights into: motivation for participating in Communication Partner Training, content and structure of the training, feedback in CPT, and learning experiences.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that SLT students may benefit from Training Con-tAct as the training leads to better skills, more knowledge about aphasia and more confidence in communicating with PWA. Training Con-tAct could be a valuable addition to the curricula of all healthcare disciplines, and eventually support interprofessional collaboration, resulting in improved access to health care, which is important for communication vulnerable people. Further research with a larger sample size and a control group is required.
Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences