Communication Accessibility for People with Aphasia: Perspectives and training needs of small independent shops
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: The loss of language and the inability to communicate effectively because of aphasia often affects community participation. Within the World Health Organisation International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, disability is recognised as a complex interaction between features of the person and features of the overall context in which that person lives (WHO, 2002). People with aphasia (PWA) wish to maintain independence by carrying out daily activities such as visiting local shops, but feel they are hindered in doing so by barriers such as lack of public awareness. There has been no research into the knowledge and perspectives of independent shops and little research into their training preferences. Aims: This study aimed to explore the awareness and knowledge of aphasia of small, independent shops, as well as their training needs, preferences and motivations. Methods & Procedures: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with four independent shop owners and managers in the South West of England. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Outcomes & Results: Findings from the analysis showed a low overall awareness of aphasia. Most of the participants had not encountered a PWA, but explained that dealing with foreign customers or customers with dementia meant they were used to having to facilitate a person with additional needs. The participants expressed a preference for a variety of training methods, including online resources and face-to-face training from an SLT. Conclusions: Independent shop owners and managers have a generally low knowledge of aphasia; however, they use skills and instincts learned from personal experience to guide their interactions with PWA, leading to some helpful and some hindering behaviours. They show a willingness to learn more about aphasia and how they can help PWA in their shops. They have a varied preference for the method of training delivery therefore it is recommended that training be designed in a flexible way. The findings from this study support the hypothesis that independent shops have different training needs to larger organizations. Future training will need to take this into consideration.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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