Understanding User Needs for Digital Aphasia Therapy: Experiences and Preferences of Speech and Language Therapists

Pauline Cuperus*, Dörte de Kok, Vânia de Aguiar, Lyndsey Nickels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Aphasia therapy software applications (apps) can help achieve recommendations regarding aphasia treatment intensity and duration. However, we currently know very little about speech and language therapists’ (SLTs) preferences with regards to these apps. This may be problematic, as clinician acceptance of novel treatments and technology are a key factor for successful translation from research evidence to practice.

Aim
This research aimed to increase our understanding of clinicians’ experiences with aphasia therapy apps and their perceived barriers and facilitators to the use of aphasia apps. Furthermore, we wanted to explore the influence of some demographic factors (age, country, and SLT availability in the client’s hometown) on SLTs’ attitudes towards these apps.

Method & Procedures
35 Dutch and 29 Australian SLTs completed an online survey. The survey contained 9 closed-ended questions and 3 open-ended questions. Responses to the closed-ended questions were summarised through the use of descriptive statistics. The responses to the open questions were analysed and coded into recurring themes that were derived from the data. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explore the relationship between the demographic variables and the responses to the closed-ended questions.

Outcomes & results
Participants were overwhelmingly positive about aphasia therapy apps and saw the potential for their clients to use apps independently. As facilitators of app use, participants reported accessibility and inclusion of different language modalities, while high costs, absence of a compatible device, and clients’ potential computer illiteracy were listed as barriers. None of the analysed demographic factors consistently influenced differences in participants’ attitudes towards aphasia therapy apps.

Conclusions
The positive, extensive and insightful feedback from speech and language therapists is both useful and encouraging for app developers and aphasia researchers, and should facilitate the development of appropriate, high-quality therapy apps.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAphasiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28-Apr-2022

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