Come attend Alicia Tonello’s Master’s thesis presentation

We are delighted to invite you to Alicia Tonello’s MSc thesis oral defense.

When: Friday 29 June, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Where: Friedman Building, Room 354
Title: “The Secret Ingredient”: Speech-Language Pathologists’ perspectives on confidence in communication for people with aphasia
MSc Candidate: Alicia Tonello
Committee: Dr. Tami Howe, Dr. Paola Colozzo, and Dr. Jeff Small



Background: Confidence, particularly in the domain of communication, has recently emerged as a factor which may influence people with aphasia’s (PWA) psychosocial well-being. However, PWA’s psychosocial needs, including their confidence in communication, are often neglected. Moreover, increasing confidence post-stroke has been identified as a research priority by stroke survivors, including PWA. Therefore, investigating how to increase confidence in communication for PWA is of clinical importance to speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and their clients with aphasia.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of SLPs on the meaning of confidence in communication for PWA, factors which help with it, factors which detract from it, and what SLPs’ role in this area might be.

Methods and Procedures: Based on the constructivist paradigm, and using a qualitative descriptive approach, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 S-LPs who had worked with PWA for at least one year. Qualitative content analysis was used to derive codes and categories from the interview transcripts in relation to each of the four research aims. To increase rigour, member checking and peer debriefing were used.

Results: Analysis of the semi-structured interviews generated the following: 56 codes for the meaning of confidence in communication for PWA, grouped into 12 categories (e.g., PWA being willing to put themselves out there and participate/try to communicate); 93 codes for factors which help with it, grouped into 14 categories (e.g., PWA practicing communication and experiencing success/improvement in the clinic and beyond); 62 codes for what detracts from confidence in communication for PWA, grouped into 13 categories (e.g., lack of social/communication support for PWA); and 88 codes for the role of SLPs in working on this with PWA, grouped into 14 categories (e.g., educating others about aphasia and training communication partners on how to support PWA’s communication).

Conclusion: SLPs perceive working on confidence in communication with PWA to be part of their clinical role. Factors such as communication and social support from others may be important for SLPs to consider in relation to PWA’s confidence in communication and could ultimately have an impact on PWA’s life participation and psychosocial well-being.