Promoting Social Connections in a Synchronous Telepractice, Aphasia Communication Group Purpose People with aphasia (PWA) frequently experience social isolation due to attitudinal and environmental barriers. The purpose of this study was to determine if PWA could improve social connections following participation in a synchronous telepractice aphasia communication group. Changes in language abilities were also assessed. Method ... Article
Article  |   October 30, 2018
Promoting Social Connections in a Synchronous Telepractice, Aphasia Communication Group
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judy P. Walker
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Maine Orono, Orono, ME
  • Karlee Price
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Maine Orono, Orono, ME
  • Jana Watson
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Maine Orono, Orono, ME
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: This work was supported by the Next Generation Foundation of Maine under Grant 165 and by Albiston Foundation through a gift awarded to Judy P. Walker. Karlee Price has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Jana Watson has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: This work was supported by the Next Generation Foundation of Maine under Grant 165 and by Albiston Foundation through a gift awarded to Judy P. Walker. Karlee Price has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Jana Watson has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Judy P. Walker has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Karlee Price has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Jana Watson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Judy P. Walker has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Karlee Price has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Jana Watson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Part 2
Article   |   October 30, 2018
Promoting Social Connections in a Synchronous Telepractice, Aphasia Communication Group
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, October 2018, Vol. 3, 32-42. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG18.32
History: Received July 13, 2018 , Revised September 8, 2018 , Accepted September 12, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, October 2018, Vol. 3, 32-42. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG18.32
History: Received July 13, 2018; Revised September 8, 2018; Accepted September 12, 2018

Purpose People with aphasia (PWA) frequently experience social isolation due to attitudinal and environmental barriers. The purpose of this study was to determine if PWA could improve social connections following participation in a synchronous telepractice aphasia communication group. Changes in language abilities were also assessed.

Method Six subjects with mild chronic aphasia participated in the telepractice group meetings once a week for 12 weeks. Subjects connected to a videoconferencing system from their home computers through high-speed Internet access for 7 sites. The telepractice group meetings focused on personal, functional, and educational topics that served as “talking points” for the meetings. Social isolation and language measures were administered to each subject before the 1st meeting and following the last group meeting.

Results Comparisons of the pretherapy and posttherapy measures revealed statistically significant differences in reducing social isolation and improving language abilities following group participation.

Conclusions The findings from this study suggest that telepractice technology shows great promise in connecting PWA and promoting a forum for unrestricted communication opportunities and social networking in a supportive online group environment. Subjects who participated in the synchronous telepractice communication group demonstrated a reduction in social isolation and improved language abilities. However, generalizability of results is limited given the small group size. Future research should incorporate different platforms, group sizes, and meeting formats.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Katherine MacLeod with data analyses and the Aphasia Center of Maine with subject recruitment.
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