Authors: Lasker JP, LaPointe LL, Kodras JE
Title: Helping a professor with aphasia resume teaching through multimodal approaches
Source: Aphasiology 2005 19(3-5): 399-410
Year: 2005
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Research and clinical evidence suggest that employment after stroke may be an important aspect of preserving personal and social identity; however, few people with significant aphasia manage to return to work, particularly if their jobs are communicatively and cognitively demanding. AIMS: This study presents the case of a professor with aphasia, JK, who resumed teaching through a combination of voice-output technology and the Key Word Teaching technique. Researchers investigated student attitudes towards two teaching approaches-one utilising voice-output technology alone and the other combining voice-output with the Key Word Teaching technique. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Ten student participants attended two simulated class sessions-one utilising voice-output technology alone and the other combining voice-output with the Key Word Teaching technique. Investigators analysed attitudinal survey results using nonparametric analyses. Qualitative approaches were employed to analyse transcripts of focus group discussions and written teaching evaluations. The investigators also compared university-based teaching evaluations from before JK's stroke to results obtained after the training protocol was completed. In addition, investigators videotaped and reviewed in-class teaching examples. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: In the Combined condition, students rated the professor and the presentation more positively on dependent measures related to rate, comfort, understandability, and their willingness to participate. In a ranking task, all students preferred the Combined teaching approach. The scores on JK's university-based teaching evaluations provided by her students the semester after Key Word Teaching training were similar to evaluations from before her stroke. In addition, excerpts from JK's classroom discourse revealed that she was now combining natural speech and synthesised speech output to enhance her teaching. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that students preferred the Combined teaching approach utilising both the synthesised speech from the computer and the Key Word Teaching technique. Also, the training protocol enabled JK to combine natural speech and synthesised computer output within the classroom setting in ways that she had been unable to prior to training. The results demonstrate how a thorough analysis of JK's communication needs, accompanied by explicit training in techniques to overcome barriers to participation, resulted in a successful vocational outcome that enabled JK to retain an important aspect of her identity.

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