article

Scenari-Aid: online practice simulations

| 01.07.2013

www.scenariaid.com has video simulations to help you practice different scenarios. It is free, though you need to register.

Grant Meredith with computer showing Scenari-aidScenari-Aid is a website offering free virtual scenario simulations which can help people who stammer practice answering questions which are posed in many everyday situations. It contains over 100 digitally-recorded scenarios including job interviews, ordering in restaurants and socialising. It was developed by Grant Meredith, a person who stammers who lectures in e-learning and professional communication skills at The University of Ballarat in Australia.

The way it works is that you choose a scenario, for example a fast food restaurant. A video then starts, taken from your point of view as if you are walking into the restaurant and up to the counter. An employee then asks what you would like and pauses for you to say your answer. Reviewing the website for Speaking Out, BSA member Ben Hewett says, "The scenarios are all ones we would encounter but might choose to avoid in our everyday lives, so in that sense, it provides the opportunity to practice responding to questions with the aim of being better prepared to tackle them in real life. The videos do a good job of inducing the same feelings I experience in real situations - when working through the fast food restaurant scenario, the same negative thoughts and feelings occurred as though I was actually there. Experiencing this in a safe environment, however, helped me to identify these negative thoughts and feelings in order to try to not let them affect me in the real-life situation."

Interviewer behind deskHe added, "Furthermore, as someone who has recently started speech therapy, I can definitely see a use for the system within this environment. A key goal of therapy is to reduce avoidance, so I can see it being a good first step towards encouraging patients to engage in these situations; being able to practice in a safe, supportive environment before trying it for real would be really useful.

"The only possible drawback is that it might encourage someone to use 'canned' answers which they have practiced, in real-life situations, which might cause problems if an unpracticed question is inevitably asked. All in all, I'd say Scenari-Aid is a really useful tool. The scenarios are all relevant to our everyday lives and the opportunity to practice encounters which many of us tend to avoid is a real benefit."

Man behind counterGrant Meredith says, "Scenari-Aid isn’t designed to replace speech therapy, but to support it. It can be used to practice fluency techniques and to work on situations you may find challenging. The hope is that Scenari-Aid can encourage you to expand beyond your comfort zone. It will continue to be developed and expanded - one priority is to make it accessible on mobile devices."

Try it out at www.scenariaid.com. You need to register to interact with the scenarios, but it’s completely free. If you have any suggestions or feedback, contact Grant at g.meredith@ballarat.edu.au.

From Speaking Out Summer 2013, p23