How Can MnCAN Conversation Groups Help?
The overall focus of MnCAN aphasia programs is to encourage and support people with aphasia by teaching strategies to increase communication effectiveness. At the same time, people with aphasia can work on their personal life goals with support.
MnCAN aphasia conversation groups provide much needed social support and access to community involvement for people with aphasia and their families. Services are available for as long as participants need or want them.
What Are the Guiding Principles of the Groups?
MnCAN’s programs are based on three guiding principles. The first principle involves a shift from a medical to a social model with a focus on natural interaction with others.
The second principle emphasizes the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA Project Group, 2009) where goals are based on getting back to previous life activities with support as needed.
The use of supported conversation strategies (Kagan, Black, Duchan, Simmons-Mackie, Square, 2001) is the third principle. The person with aphasia is encouraged to use “whatever works” to aid communication (a combination of speech, drawing, writing, gesturing, use of technology) and comprehension.
What Do We Do in the Groups?
We meet weekly for 90 minutes. Conversations are about everything “normal” (weather, current events, favorite trips, memories, politics, the news in everyone’s life, frustrations, sadnesses, joys and personal goals) and are facilitated by speech language pathologists with the support of trained volunteers and/or graduate students in speech-language pathology. Close friendships develop, everyone supports each other and ultimately there is a lot of laughter.
What Else Should You Know?
• Fall and Winter sessions meet for 12 weeks. Summer session meets for 8 weeks.
• Tuition is due with registration. Financial support is available.
• Space is limited for the conversation groups to allow for lots of communication practice in a small group environment.