A project of the Words in the World SSHRC Research Training Partnership

Background

The Life Participation Approach To Aphasia (LPAA) is a model that focuses on achieving the long-term goals of people with aphasia and others affected by it with a crucial emphasis on re-engagement in life. Embodied within this model is the notion that individuals with a chronic condition, such as aphasia, need support throughout their lifetime beyond the support that they receive through outpatient services. With this in mind, we saw a clear need for a free adult conversation group in Windsor where people with aphasia could come together to engage in conversations and activities with the help of trained student volunteers to facilitate the group interaction. This led to the creation of The Word Exchange, the first free adult conversation group in Windsor, Ontario.

So far, we have sent three of our students to intensive training courses on Supported Conversations for Adults with Aphasia (SCA) so that they are equipped to train other student volunteers and facilitate the conversation groups. Since then, an additional 10 students have been trained to use the supportive conversation techniques. These techniques both acknowledge and reveal the competence of the person with aphasia, and they break down the co-created communication barrier between the person with aphasia and the conversation partner by enhancing the exchange of meaningful information.

 

Objective

With this group, we hope to increase the quality of life, self-esteem, communication confidence, and reduce the social isolation that people with aphasia experience after the onset of this condition. Based on other successful groups in Ontario, we know that bringing together a group of people that can relate to one another on such a level can produce positive changes in one’s life and instill a sense of belonging.

Additionally, we intend to evaluate our program and measure meaningful outcomes of the group throughout. Other future goals include establishing a location that is suitable to meet the needs of all our members and maintain financial security that will allow the project to be sustainable.

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