What so service industry workers know about people with aphasia? – a small scale questionnaire investigation.
Background This study was undertaken as part of the final year undergraduate degree programme at De Montfort University. In 2003 Code found that people with aphasia (PWA) spent an average of twenty hours outside their home in a typical week. In this time PWA talked to family friends and service industry workers. Research by Brown, McGahan, Alkaledi, Seah, Howe & Worral (2006) conducted using two small focus groups described the difficulties people with disabilities encountered when they were shopping. Brown et al’s (2006) study concluded that attitudes to disability and a lack of knowledge about different types of disability were barriers to the social participation of people with aphasia (PWA). These studies prompted this research question: What do service industry workers know about people with aphasia? Method The questionnaire used in this study was based on the interviews conducted by 2003 Simmons-Mackie, Code, Armstrong, Steigler & Elma in 2002. Simmons-Mackie et al’s (2002) survey questions had identified that members of the public across three continents had very little understanding of aphasia. Fifty service industry workers from one retail outlet of a British national chain of shops were asked to complete the adapted questionnaire about their understanding of aphasia. Results 31/37 84% service industry workers were unable to provide any information about aphasia. 37 questionnaires were returned. 6/37 (16%) of service industry workers were able to describe aphasia. These 6 retail assistants also knew that strokes and head injuries resulted in aphasia and were able to identify helpful strategies to aid communication with a PWA. The six service industry workers attributed their knowledge of aphasia to personal experience, listening to the radio or watching television. Discussion This small scale study has provided more evidence to support the position that service industry workers may have very little understanding of the communication difficulties experienced by PWA. The results of this study could be used to support the argument that speech and language therapy intervention packages should promote more strategies to overcome the difficulties PWA may encounter when communicating with service industry workers such as retail assistants, policemen, civil servants and transport employees. References Brown, K., McGahan, L., Alkhaledi, M., Seah, D., Howe, T. & Worrall, L. (2006) Environmental factors that influence the community participation of adults with aphasia: The perspectives of service industry workers. Aphasiology, 20,7,595-615. Code, C. (2003) The quality of life for people with chronic aphasia. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 13, 3, 379-390. Simmons-Mackie, N., Code, C., Armtrong, E. Steigler, L. & Elam, R. (2002) What is aphasia? Results of an international study. Aphasiology, 16, 8, 837-848.
Citation:Larter, C. and Bixley, M. (2009) What so service industry workers know about people with aphasia? – a small scale questionnaire investigation. British Aphasiology Society Biennial International Conference Book of Abstracts,