Does communication partner training improve the conversation skills of speech-language pathology students when interacting with people with aphasia? Academic Article uri icon


  • Aphasia is a common consequence of stroke. Despite receiving specialised training in communication, speech-language pathology students may lack confidence when communicating with People with Aphasia (PWA). This paper reports data from secondary outcome measures from a randomised controlled trial.The aim of the current study was to examine the effects of communication partner training on the communication skills of speech-language pathology students during conversations with PWA.Thirty-eight speech-language pathology students were randomly allocated to trained and untrained groups. The first group received a lecture about communication strategies for communicating with PWA then participated in a conversation with PWA (Trained group), while the second group of students participated in a conversation with the PWA without receiving the lecture (Untrained group). The conversations between the groups were analysed according to the Measure of skill in Supported Conversation (MSC) scales, Measure of Participation in Conversation (MPC) scales, types of strategies used in conversation, and the occurrence and repair of conversation breakdowns.The trained group received significantly higher MSC Revealing Competence scores, used significantly more props, and introduced significantly more new ideas into the conversation than the untrained group. The trained group also used more gesture and writing to facilitate the conversation, however, the difference was not significant. There was no significant difference between the groups according to MSC Acknowledging Competence scores, MPC Interaction or Transaction scores, or in the number of interruptions, minor or major conversation breakdowns, or in the success of strategies initiated to repair the conversation breakdowns.Speech-language pathology students may benefit from participation in communication partner training programs.


  • Finch, Emma
  • Cameron, Ashley
  • Fleming, Jennifer
  • Lethlean, Jennifer
  • Hudson, Kyla
  • McPhail, Steven

publication date

  • 2017