Julia BorsattoDoctoral candidate Julia Borsatto has taken Aphasia Friendly Canada’s training online, including a survey component that will assist her research on awareness of the neurological disorder. Photo by Nicole Willows.

Free online course offers training on aphasia

It’s now easier for people everywhere to be more welcoming to individuals with aphasia thanks to a UWindsor project offering free online training.

Aphasia Friendly Canada, a project of psychology professor Lori Buchanan's Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, now offers its training course virtually.

“There’s no limitations on who can take it,” said Julia Borsatto, a doctoral candidate in neuropsychology who has designed the training course.

Aphasia is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak, read, or write. It can come on suddenly after a stroke or head injury, or gradually in the case of a tumour or other neurological disease.

The disorder has recently made headlines after the family of Hollywood actor Bruce Willis announced he has aphasia.

The training course used to be offered in group settings to businesses, municipalities, and service agencies. The pandemic accelerated the plan to move the course to an online platform so people could take it individually, Borsatto said.

The course takes 30 to 40 minutes to complete. That includes a short quiz at the start of the session and one at the end. The quiz, which gauges the knowledge transfer that takes place through the course, is part of Borsatto’s doctoral research.

Participants receive a certificate for completing the course.

The course has been especially popular with caregivers, people who work in long-term care homes, and students in healthcare fields. To date, more than 120 people have taken the online version of the course since it became available last year. Borsatto is hoping for an uptick in interest in June, which is recognized across North America as Aphasia Awareness Month.

For more information, or to take the course, visit the Aphasia Friendly Canada website.

—Sarah Sacheli