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Gavel Club for people with aphasia: communication confidence and quality of communication life
Abstract and Figures
Background: Many factors that contribute to successful living with aphasia intersect with the benefits one can get from attending an aphasia group. Affiliated with Toastmasters International, Gavel Clubs (GCs) for people with aphasia (PWA) provide a range of communication activities that promote public speaking and leadership skills. The constructs of communication confidence and quality of communication life (QCL) were introduced over a decade ago but have not been widely investigated. Aims: This study aims to investigate the association between weekly participation in GC public speaking activities for PWA and the constructs of QCL and communication confidence. In addition, the study aims to explore the association between the severity of aphasia, QCL and communication confidence. Methods & Procedures: Eight members of a GC for PWA, who attended 31–33 weekly GC meetings per year between 2012 and 2016, participated in assessments of their QCL (using the ASHA Quality of Communication Life (ASHA QCL)), communication confidence (using the Communication Confidence Rating Scale for Aphasia (CCRSA)), and aphasia severity (using the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised (WAB-R)). A link was sought between severity of aphasia and the constructs of QCL and communication confidence. Outcomes & Results: QCL improved significantly over four years of participation in the GC (Z = 2.103, n = 8, p = .035, r = .74). Communication confidence also improved significantly (Z = 1.973, p = .049, r = .70). No associations were found between the two scales or between the scales and severity of aphasia. Conclusions: Weekly participation in GC group activities was associated with improved QCL, as measured by the ASHA QCL, and improved communication confidence as measured by the CCRSA. Decision-making (measured by the CCRSA) and the Roles and Responsibilities domain (in the ASHA QCL) also improved. More research is needed to verify these findings using a study design that includes a control group, to identify the links between the various psychosocial aspects at play in the life of PWA and to conceptualise how the gains achieved with GC participation can be applied more broadly to successful living with aphasia.
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