Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





Aphasia, Awareness, Community, Stroke


Buchanan, L.




Aphasia is a language disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write, or understand. The disorder is multi-faceted and symptoms vary greatly among individuals, but all forms create pervasive communication barriers that make participation in society difficult. There are well over 100,000 Canadians with aphasia, making this disorder more common than Parkinson’s disease or muscular dystrophy, but unlike those disorders, very few people have heard of aphasia. On the ground, the consequences of this lack of knowledge is that Canadian businesses and organizations are ill-equipped to accommodate customers with this invisible disability. The present study introduces The Aphasia Friendly Business Campaign (AFBC), which has been designed to address the lack of knowledge surrounding aphasia. This knowledge mobilization project assists businesses in increasing accessibility for people with communication disorders through business-specific training sessions. This thesis describes the AFBC and evaluates its efficacy. Fifteen participating organizations and their employees received AFBC training in which they were told what aphasia is and were taught how to use supportive communication strategies to facilitate conversation with people with aphasia. Pre-and post training questionnaires assessed changes in employees’ declarative knowledge regarding aphasia and their perceived self-efficacy in the workplace. The responses revealed improved awareness and knowledge of aphasia, which translated into increased confidence in the employees’ ability to offer adequate service to customers with aphasia. The increase in public awareness and knowledge regarding aphasia and the ability of local businesses to use supportive communication strategies has implications for increasing the autonomy of people with aphasia in our community.