Lingraphica Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Richard Steele, summarizes the findings of a study regarding methods and procedures used for training speech production in persons with aphasia.


Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have published analyses of interviews administered to both persons with aphasia and to speech-language pathologists (SLP) working with them in therapy to improve speech production. The goals of investigation were: [1] to identify main themes in respondents’ comments regarding their therapy experiences, and [2] to explore the ways in which the findings could be used to engage SLPs and clients during therapy in collaborative procedural choice-making.

Investigators gathered responses from eight SLPs and seven people with aphasia (PWA) in complimentary ways: [1] respondents were interviewed about their views and recollections regarding previous treatment given/received that had targeted speech production; and [2] participants engaged in simulated therapeutic service delivery that targeted speech production, were observed during activities, and then interviewed afterwards. Detailed field notes were collected and subjected to qualitative analysis.

Content analysis revealed four broad themes: [1] properties of previous treatments, including goals identified, materials used, and tasks involved; [2] salient features of therapy sessions in practice, including activity patterns in clinic at home, intensity of practice by settings, and barriers to practice that PWA encounter; [3] comments on what promotes therapy engagement, including stimulating motivation, incorporating client preferences, and adapting the mix of components; and [4] important benefits of procedural choice-making, including accommodating flexibility, sharing control, and promoting clients’ sense of ownership. Some points were shared by both SLPs and PWAs in all four themes, but others were found only among members of one group or the other, with PWA comments especially numerous.

SLPs and PWA alike clearly identify control, choice, and flexibility as desirable attributes of therapeutic approaches that aim to improve clients’ speech production. They additionally share the views that incorporation of procedural choice-making may often: [1] be feasible, [2] support shared values, and [3] boost client motivation while improving clinical implementation for clinicians.

For further reading:  T.G. Harmon, L. Hardy & K.L. Haley. 2017. Proactive social validation of methods and procedures used for training speech production in aphasiaAphasiology.

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