Communication dyad training for individuals with brain injury and everyday communication partners
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Individuals with brain injury are in need of speech and language therapy to improve impaired cognitive-communicative skills. Including significant communication partners (e.g., caregivers, spouses or parents) in intervention encourages carryover of skills practiced in therapy to natural communication contexts. Additionally, unimpaired partners benefit from training on how to communicate more effectively and and support the partner’s use of compensatory strategies for impaired cognitive skills. The objective of this multiple single case study was to evaluate the outcomes of a training program delivered to two dyads (Dyad B. and Dyad W.) composed of an adult with brain injury and an everyday communication partner. Participant dyads were recruited from a local brain injury support group. Training consisted of a four-week program during which participants received brain injury education, developed and monitored progress on goals, received instruction on communication strategies, and engaged in self-evaluation and role-play activities. Dependent variables were progress on individual goals, analysis of discourse variables, and the LaTrobe Communication Questionnaire. Treatment effects included a decrease in the amount of overlapping speech and an increase in the proportion of obliges and responses relative to comments for Dyad B., and increased deficit awareness and decreased conversation dominance on the part of the participant with brain injury for Dyad W. Results of the study showed that communication dyads affected by brain injury benefit from short-term training provided to both partners.