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Student experience of the Visiting Aphasia Scheme (VAS); impact on attitudes and the learning experience

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posted on 2016-03-21, 12:41 authored by Amy Stack
Background: Experience of participating in a conversation partner scheme can make significant improvements in the students’ ability to build a rapport with their client (Legg et al., 2005). Internationally, the impact VAS (a conversation partner scheme) has on both learning and attitude is not widely studied. Objectives: To explore students learning experience of the Visiting Aphasia Scheme (VAS) and investigate the impact on their attitudes to disability. Methods: The ‘Interaction with Disabled Persons Scale’ (Gething, 1991) and a ‘Visiting Aphasia Scheme’ questionnaire (adapted from Welsh & Szabo, 2011), assessed 29 students basic understanding of aphasia, intention to work with adults with aphasia, and attitudes to people with disability. The data was analyzed for change in attitudes after the program using SPSS paired t-test (SPSS Inc. 1998), and the ‘Visiting Aphasia Scheme’ questionnaire was analysed for change using Microsoft Excel (2011). The Focus group (consisting of 8 of the participants) explored the students VAS experience. This data was analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Results: The quantitative results showed a significant change in students’ attitude (p-value = 0.049), improvement in the students’ basic understanding of aphasia, and no overall change in the students’ intention to work with adults with aphasia. Four themes emerged from the qualitative data; experience shaping attitudes, role and logistics of educational experience, communicating with conversation partner, and professional development and role of self. Conclusion: The Visiting Aphasia Scheme may improve students’ confidence, attitude, and understanding. It may reduce fears associated with communicating with adults with communication difficulties, and encourage students to critically self-reflect and adapt to client’s needs, implementing strategies and utilizing material when available.

History

Degree

  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Kearns, Áine

Note

non-peer-reviewed

Language

English

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