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Twenty four health care providers gathered at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Thunder Bay on May 29/30, 2019 to attend a “sold-out” training workshop on Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCATM). Generous funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care supported participant’s registration (a value of $888/person) to attend the 2-day workshop delivered by two Speech-Language Pathologists from the  Aphasia Institute in Toronto.  Additional support for the workshop was provided by St. Joseph’s Care Group, the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Aphasia is a language problem caused most frequently by stroke and affects approximately 1/3 of the stroke population.  Aphasia has a devastating impact on all aspects of life because it affects the ability to read, write, interact and communicate with others. Participants learned about SCATM including the  underlying theory and rationale, developing and demonstrating their skills through role-playing with other participants and volunteers with aphasia, describing strategies to incorporate techniques into their current practice as well as how to enable “communicative access” in their workplace.

The workshop was received very positively by the participants and will help to enhance the care of people with aphasia living in Northwestern Ontario. Participant testimonials included the following:

“This program made me realize I had spent 7 years as a RN unintentionally speaking over and bypassing people with aphasia. Through this course I have been given the tools to have meaningful conversations with people living with aphasia.  I have learned to understand and acknowledge competence in those living with aphasia.  Every health care professional should do this course.”

“This program is fantastic! You will leave feeling more confident and empowered as a clinician knowing that you now have the skills to connect with another human being to help make their life larger than aphasia”.

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