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An interaction-focused intervention approach to training everyday communication partners: A single case study

Journal article
Authors Charlotta Saldert
Charlotte Johansson
Ray Wilkinson
Published in Aphasiology
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 378-399
ISSN 0268-7038
Publication year 2015
Published at University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 378-399
Language en
Keywords Communication partner training, aphasia, Conversation Analysis, intervention, interaction-focused, person-centered care
Subject categories Logopedics and phoniatrics, General Language Studies and Linguistics


Background: Communication partner training appears to be a growing area within aphasiology. Much of the work carried out so far has focused on training volunteers to have conversations with people with aphasia in order to improve communication and the person with aphasia’s (PWA’s) psychosocial well-being and/or improving the ability of significant others to communicate information with the PWA within clinical tasks. In this paper we present the results of a single-case intervention study which used an interaction-focused approach to target the conversational behaviours of the significant other of a PWA with the aim of improving the dyad’s everyday conversations within the home environment. Aims: To discuss the targeting, implementation and evaluation of an interaction-focused intervention programme for a significant other of a person with aphasia. Methods & Procedures: Conversation Analysis was used both to guide choice of individualised target behaviours for the intervention and to explore changes in the conversational interaction between a woman with mild-moderate aphasia and her life partner. Three samples of video-recorded natural conversational interaction from before and after the partner took part in a six session long group intervention were analysed. The evidence for change that emerged from qualitative analysis of the conversational data was further analysed by an independent, blinded, assessor doing quantitative comparisons. Outcomes & Results: There was qualitative and quantitative evidence that two of three targeted conversational behaviours had changed following the intervention programme. Following the completion of the intervention the dyad spent significantly less time in pedagogic activities. Furthermore, the significant other showed an increased attention towards PWA’s conversational contributions. The combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses also revealed that post-intervention the communication partner displayed changes in an interactional behaviour which was not targeted in the intervention i.e. dismissive language towards the person with aphasia. Conclusions: This study adds to the existing literature in presenting positive results from an intervention which used an interaction-focused approach, here targeted towards the everyday communication partner of a PWA. Notably, this study supplemented qualitative outcomes with blinded and statistical quantitative analyses. Also, the fact that no transcriptions were used during the intervention process and that therapy was delivered via group intervention shows the feasibility of this form of communication partner training in clinical settings. Furthermore, the study suggests that intervention programmes targeting the behaviours of a communication partner may produce positive change in conversational behaviours that have not been directly targeted in the intervention.

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