Authors: Renvall K, Laine M, Martin N
Title: Treatment of anomia with contextual priming: Exploration of a modified procedure with additional semantic and phonological tasks
Source: Aphasiology 2007 21(5): 499-527
Year: 2007
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: We present an anomia treatment study using a modified contextual priming (CP) technique for two anomic participants. The reason for the modification attempt is that the most recent studies have indicated that the CP procedure is less effective in the case of impairment to lexical-semantic processes than in the case of phonological deficits (see Martin, Fink, and Laine, 2004a; Martin, Fink, Laine, and Ayala, 2004b; Renvall, Laine, and Martin, 2005). AIMS: Our aim is to study the within- and post-treatment effects of a modified CP procedure and especially whether additional semantic tasks can increase benefits from the CP treatment. METHODS and PROCEDURES: The treatment was conducted for two participants with acquired anomia: LV has primarily a semantic component underlying her anomia, while JP suffers primarily from a phoneme-sequencing deficit. The CP procedure encompassed repeated cycles of spontaneous naming attempts and repetition of target names using arrays of multiple pictures where the targets were either semantically related or unrelated. Our modification was to add picture-to-word matching and phonological "rhyming syllable identification" with the targets to the training sequence. The treatment was carried out in a single-subject multiple-baseline design consisting of several baseline measurements, treatment sessions along with within-treatment measurements, and a post-treatment measurement 1.5 months later. OUTCOMES and RESULTS: Both participants showed short-term facilitation of naming target items in all treatment conditions. For LV, post-treatment improvement of naming was statistically significant in the semantic condition irrespective of additional task type, even though the improvement was strongest when the semantic condition was coupled with the additional semantic tasks. In the case of JP, post-treatment improvement was observed in the semantic condition coupled with additional semantic tasks, and in the unrelated condition with both semantic and phonological tasks. No strong evidence of generalisation to untreated items was observed for either of the participants. CONCLUSIONS: The modified CP procedure can provide longer-term improvement of naming target items than the CP training without additional tasks in the face of a lexical-semantic deficit. With lexical-semantic disturbance, the semantic context provided the best results. However, the nature of the additional tasks (semantic vs phonological) appeared to be less important for the treatment of target naming.

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