Semin Speech Lang 2013; 34(01): 005-017
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1337390
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Teaching Future Providers about Dementia: The Impact of Service Learning

Nidhi Mahendra
1  Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders, California State University East Bay, Hayward, California
Karen Fremont
2  Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, Colorado
Emily Dionne
3  Speech Pathology Group, Walnut Greek, California
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 March 2013 (online)


In this article, we describe an innovative approach for providing speech-language pathology graduate students with exposure to long-term care settings and clinical training in service delivery for persons with dementia. Our pedagogical approach emphasizes leading learners through distinct stages of creating awareness and a foundation of knowledge, teaching clinical skills, hands-on practice via service learning, and ongoing self-reflection. Outcome data presented in this article are derived from learner evaluations and written reflections as well as social validation data provided by dementia patients in a long-term care setting. Our findings reveal that a combination of high-impact practices, community-based service learning, and ongoing reflection can result in transformative learning and attitude shifts for speech-language pathology graduate students toward serving persons with dementia. This is a key finding given that a majority of our learners had little exposure to long-term care environments or had any prior interaction with persons with dementia.