Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (VNeST)
Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (VNeST) is a therapy technique that focuses on verbs. It aims to improve word finding in order to produce sentences.
Many people with aphasia struggle with creating complete sentences. In English, a typical sentence structure is formed by a subject-verb-object sequence. For instance, “John ate the cookie” follows this example. The idea behind VNeST is to improve the network of words relating to verbs in order to improve the ability to create sentences.
VNeST has been proven to be an effective therapy tool for people with aphasia. People who have used VNeST have improved at word-finding and sentence structure.
The Goals of VNeST
- To improve the communicative effectiveness. This is done by using more specific words (for example, “nurse” instead of “person.”) This is also done by improving sentence structure.
- To improve even on items that were not specifically worked on in therapy. This is known as generalization.
- To engage and challenge participants with interesting and meaningful treatment items.
VNeST can be used with people with many types of aphasia. People will be most successful if they have basic comprehension. However, the therapy can be modified for people who have comprehension impairments.
When using VNeST, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) will present verbs to the person with aphasia. The SLP and patient will work together to create sentences with the verb. This is done by filling in the “who” and the “what” related to the verb. These words are represented on index cards. For instance, the SLP might use the verb “eat.” Sentences might include:
- Mary eats eggs.
- Fido eats Purina.
- I eat cake.
The activity is most meaningful if the sentences are true and about people and items in everyday life.
The activity can be expanded to include additional details. This might be where, when, or why the sentence occurs. Examples might be:
- Mary eats eggs in the kitchen.
- Fido eats Purina in the morning.
- I eat cake because it’s my birthday.
By creating a network of words that relate to the verb, it makes it more likely that both the verb and its related words will be produced correctly.
This therapy technique can be used differently depending on a person’s strengths. Some people will create the verb networks on their own with the SLP just providing verbs. Other times, the SLP will create the sentences and the person with aphasia can practice repeating or providing one word of the sentence. People with aphasia and their families can also practice this technique at home.