Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The Washington University in St. Louis Stroke Clinic is a student-run free clinic (SRSC) designed to enhance student learning and provide the community with no-cost evidence-based occupational therapy services. Aphasia is a common communication impairment after stroke that affects the ability to access services and give and get information, and impacts life participation and satisfaction. Conversation partner training is an evidence-based treatment approach to improve communication with people with aphasia (PWA). The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of student clinician training about communicating with PWA using conversation partner training in the SRSC. This study was a single-group prospective pre-post cohort study with two phases. In Phase 1, eight students completed a series of formal and informal feedback measures to evaluate student perception of the current training. In Phase 2, six students completed a conversation partner education protocol with a flipped classroom model and includes self-evaluation and evaluation of competency with a skills check-out. Student clinicians reported increased knowledge, skills, and confidence in their ability to communicate with PWA. Students demonstrated increased skill in acknowledging and revealing the competence, building rapport, as well as giving and receiving valuable information. This was the first study looking solely at the value of student occupational therapy education on communicating with PWA. Through this experience, these students were better prepared to interact with future clients with aphasia.


Meghan Doherty, OTD, OTR/L received her Master's in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in 2008 and her doctorate in 2016. She has worked in inpatient adult and pediatric neurorehabilitation for ten years. She spent three years conducting clinical trials in cognitive assessment and intervention at Washington University. Meghan is currently assistant professor at Saint Louis University with specialty in pediatrics, stroke, and oncology.

Chevie Lay, MSOT, OTR/L received her Master's in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in 2017. She has clinical experience in adult inpatient and outpatient settings with a special interest in stroke rehabilitation. Chevie is currently practicing as an occupational therapist at Montebello HealthCare Center in Hamilton, IL.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.