Effect of Interdisciplinary Service Learning Experience for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Students Working With Adults With Dementia


Purpose: An interdisciplinary service learning (SL) experience with audiology and speech-language pathology students was designed to examine changes in students' attitudes toward adults with dementia following an SL experience in which they socialized with nursing home residents who had dementia.

Method: Nineteen audiology and 24 speech-language pathology students completed an SL course, and 14 audiology and 18 speech-language pathology students did not participate in the SL course. The students interacted with 24 nursing home residents with dementia; specifically, the audiology students conducted 2 hearing evaluations with the residents, and the speech-language pathology students socialized with the residents during 15 visits. The students' attitudes toward older adults with dementia were assessed using Kogan's Attitudes Toward Old People Scale (Kogan, 1961) and qualitative analysis of their journal entries. The results were compared across groups over time.

Results: The SL groups showed more positive attitudes than the non-SL students, and their later journal entries were more positive than earlier entries.

Conclusions: This SL experience provided clinical opportunities for audiology and speech-language pathology students to work with adults with dementia. Direct contact with the residents resulted in more positive attitudes toward older adults in residential facilities.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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American Journal of Audiology