Authors: Rodriguez AD, Raymer AM, Rothi LJG
Title: Effects of gesture+verbal and semantic-phonologic treatments for verb retrieval in aphasia
Source: Aphasiology 2006 20(2-4): 286-297
Year: 2006
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Reports have indicated that gesture+verbal treatments and semantic-phonologic treatments are effective for improving lexical retrieval in aphasia. Most studies focus on noun production, with verb production less commonly reported. Because of links between verbs and gesture knowledge, verbs may be particularly amenable to gesture+verbal training. AIMS: The purpose of this investigation was to study the effects of gesture+verbal and semantic-phonologic treatments on verb retrieval in patients with chronic aphasia. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: We report treatment results for four individuals, three men and one woman, with aphasia and verb retrieval impairments subsequent to left hemisphere stroke more than 8 months earlier. Word retrieval impairment was semantically based in one participant, phonologically based in another, and mixed semantic+phonologic in two others. In a single-participant experimental treatment design, we investigated the effects of gesture+verbal treatment and semantic-phonologic treatment for verb retrieval in two 10-session training phases. The effects of treatment were evaluated in a verb picture-naming task in which spoken naming and gestured responses were coded. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Spoken naming improvements associated with large effect sizes were noted in one participant during both the semantic-phonologic training and gesture+verbal training. Gesture production improved in two other participants with severe anomia during gesture+verbal training. No improvements were evident in untrained words during either training phase. CONCLUSIONS: Gesture+verbal training and semantic-phonologic training led to similar patterns of treatment results for verb spoken naming. The individual with phonologically based anomia responded better in treatment than the other three whose naming impairments were associated with semantic dysfunction. The item-specific improvement in spoken naming for trained verbs only suggests that both treatments may affect individual lexical representations engaged during word retrieval. Gesture+verbal treatment may encourage use of a viable means of gestural communication for those who do not improve verbal production, even in the presence of severe limb apraxia.

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