Authors: Clegg J, Brumfitt S, Parks RW, Woodruff PWR
Title: Speech and language therapy intervention in schizophrenia: a case study
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2007 42(Suppl 1): 81-101
Year: 2007
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: There is a significant body of evidence documenting the speech and language abnormalities found in adult psychiatric disorders. These speech and language impairments can create additional social barriers for the individual and may hinder effective communication in psychiatric treatment and management. However, the role of speech and language therapy in this patient population has not been extensively studied. AIMS: Speech and language therapy is reported in a 53-year-old adult male patient who presented with severe poverty of speech as part of his diagnosis of schizophrenia. The aims of speech and language therapy focused on increasing the patient's verbal communication using a combination of traditional and non-traditional speech and language therapy methods. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Two phases of speech and language therapy were implemented. The first phase focused on desensitizing the patient to verbal communication. The second phase developed the patient's language productivity and increased his awareness of his social communication skills. Five separate measures were taken as baselines which were repeated at the end of the intervention. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Post-intervention scores showed that the intervention was partly successful. The patient's verbal communication increased and he developed more appropriate social communication skills. His negative attitude to communication remained unchanged even though his self-evaluative status improved. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention is discussed in terms of the pre-and post-intervention measures and the role of speech and language therapy in schizophrenia. The study suggests that speech and language therapy can contribute to the understanding and management of schizophrenia and other adult psychiatric disorders.

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