Authors: Albright E, Purves B
Title: Exploring SentenceShaper[TM]: Treatment and augmentative possibilities
Source: Aphasiology 2008 22(7-8): 741-752
Year: 2008
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Advances in computer technology have led to the development of innovative approaches to aphasia treatment. One example is SentenceShaper[TM], a software program designed to support sentence production for people with nonfluent aphasia. Studies have demonstrated improvement in unaided and/or aided sentence production for some individuals using this program, suggesting therapeutic benefit. In addition, because SentenceShaper[TM] allows users to record and save spoken messages, it has the potential to augment everyday communication. AIMS: The goals of this 4-month case study were to explore first how using a beta version of SentenceShaper[TM] could support narrative production for an individual with nonfluent aphasia, and second how she would exploit its therapeutic and augmentative aspects to support her everyday communication. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: The study, drawing on impairment-based and social models of intervention, comprised two components. The first used quantitative measures to compare narratives produced before and after 12 weeks of using SentenceShaper[TM]. The second used qualitative methodologies to explore its impact on communication. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Quantitative measures showed an increase in morphosyntactic complexity of the aphasic participant's narratives, while measures of informativeness, efficiency, and narrative structure remained relatively unchanged. Findings from the second component revealed that, although the participant with aphasia used SentenceShaper[TM] messages for e-mail and in conversation, neither she nor her mother readily accepted the use of the program to augment communication in everyday life. CONCLUSIONS: Reasons for this lack of acceptance are explored. Ways in which the combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies contributed to a deeper understanding of the findings are discussed.

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