Published on August 23, 2021 by Daniel Dodson  

In an effort to expose students to what they will experience in the clinical setting and workplace, speech language pathology students participate in a series of simulations.

Annually, speech language pathology students complete an interprofessional aphasia simulation to learn how individuals with aphasia communicate and the care they require from their caregivers. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the simulation occurred virtually.

"The simulation is as close as you can get to the real lab setting so that a student has the opportunity to think, 'Wow, this is what this might feel like if I am in my next set of clinicals,'" said Margaret Johnson, professor and department chair.

During the simulation, students interacted with the person with aphasia and their caregiver to learn the best way to talk with a person who has a language disorder. Although different from years past, the students continued to document particular skills they learned from the simulation.

"One of the most important things that speech pathologists have to do is to determine whether or not the patient has receptive language ability," Johnson said. "Because if you think that what you're hearing right now, if you had a hard time understanding, you would have lost me about three sentences ago. So that's how they feel when a person keeps on talking to them."

As part of the SLP curriculum, students take a class with Johnson called SLPA 604, Introduction to Aphasia. The class teaches them what aphasia is and how to diagnose it, and then how to treat the condition. 

"What we know in today's world of academics is that when students can put their hands on something when they can see it, feel it, hear it, those types of things, their brain will absorb that better from a neuroplasticity standpoint, and so that's why we built this simulation," Johnson said. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.