Authors: Edwards S, Tucker K
Title: Verb Retrieval in Fluent Aphasia: A Clinical Study
Source: Aphasiology 2006 20(7): 644-675
Year: 2006
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Problems with lexical retrieval are common across all types of aphasia but certain word classes are thought to be more vulnerable in some aphasia types. Traditionally, verb retrieval problems have been considered characteristic of non-fluent aphasias but there is growing evidence that verb retrieval problems are also found in fluent aphasia. As verbs are retrieved from the mental lexicon with syntactic as well as phonological and semantic information, it is speculated that an improvement in verb retrieval should enhance communicative abilities in this population as in others. We report on an investigation into the effectiveness of verb treatment for three individuals with fluent aphasia. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Multiple pre-treatment baselines were established over 3 months in order to monitor language change before treatment. The three participants then received twice-weekly verb treatment over approximately 4 months. All pre-treatment assessments were administered immediately after treatment and 3 months post-treatment. OUTCOME AND RESULTS: Scores fluctuated in the pre-treatment period. Following treatment, there was a significant improvement in verb retrieval for two of the three participants on the treated items. The increase in scores for the third participant was statistically non-significant but post-treatment scores moved from below the normal range to within the normal range. All participants were significantly quicker in the verb retrieval task following treatment. There was an increase in well-formed sentences in the sentence construction test and; in some samples of connected speech. CONCLUSIONS: Repeated systematic treatment can produce a significant improvement in verb retrieval of practised items and; generalise to unpractised items for some participants. An increase in well-formed sentences is seen for some speakers. The theoretical and clinical implications of the results are discussed.

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