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Receiving Aphasia Intervention in a Virtual Environment: The Participants’ Perspective

Amaya, A., Woolf, C., Devane, N., Galliers, J. R., Talbot, R., Wilson, S. and Marshall, J. (2018). Receiving Aphasia Intervention in a Virtual Environment: The Participants’ Perspective. Aphasiology, doi: 10.1080/02687038.2018.1431831

Abstract

Background: Digital technology is making an increasing contribution to aphasia therapy. However applications of virtual reality are rare. EVA Park is a virtual island developed with and for people with aphasia. It is a multi-user environment, which enables people with aphasia to interact with support workers, therapists and each other. The first study to use EVA Park in aphasia rehabilitation demonstrated significant gains in functional communication. This paper augments the findings of that study, by reporting results from qualitative interviews conducted with the 20 study participants.

Aims: This study aimed to determine the views of participants about the intervention that they received in EVA Park, and the impacts of that intervention. Long-term retrospective views were also explored.

Methods & Procedures: Participants took part in 1:1, semi-structured interviews two weeks before (Entry) and to weeks after (Exit) the intervention. Questions focussed on activities undertaken by participants, communication, changes since the stroke and uses of technology. Exit interviews additionally explored participants’ views and experiences of EVA Park and any perceived impacts of the intervention. A sub-set of 5 participants was interviewed at least one year later, to explore long term recollections of the EVA Park intervention and any perceived long term impacts. Interview data were transcribed and subject to framework analysis.

Outcomes & Results: The thematic framework comprised 10 parent themes and 33 sub-themes. Following ‘affect’, the largest single theme related to EVA Park, with 636 coded references. Comments were overwhelmingly positive. EVA Park intervention was strongly

associated with fun and enjoyment. Participants particularly valued their relationship with the support workers who delivered the intervention. The virtual locations and activities in EVA Park were also appreciated, together with the contact with other participants. Perceived impacts related to communication, activity, computer use and confidence. Most participants in the long term interviews described maintained impacts.

Conclusions: These interview results indicate that the first intervention delivered in EVA Park was highly acceptable to participants and perceived as beneficial. They augment the findings of our experimental study and suggest that EVA Park could be a valuable addition to the resources available to practising clinicians

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'Aphasiology' on 20 Jan 2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02687038.2018.1431831
Publisher Keywords: aphasia, therapy, participant perspectives, virtual reality
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Computer Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18822
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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