Authors: del Toro CM, Altmann LJP, Raymer AM, Leon S, Blonder LX, Rothi LJG
Title: Changes in aphasic discourse after contrasting treatments for anomia
Source: Aphasiology 2008 22(7-8): 881-892
Year: 2008
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Discourse analysis is a key element in determining treatment effects. However, it is extremely labour intensive, requiring in-depth knowledge of linguistics and aphasiology; thus, it is often neglected in the analysis of treatment outcomes. A clinically practical method of discourse analysis would be beneficial for evaluation and determination of treatment efficacy. AIMS: The current study investigates changes in discourse content following contrasting treatments for anomia using grammatical analysis. In addition, we pilot the use of a new information measure. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: We compare discourse changes after a gestural+verbaltreatment and a semantic-phonologic treatment for nouns and verbs on two groups of individuals with aphasia. Analyses compared discourse samples from 14 participants taken at baseline, post-phase 1, and post-phase 2. In addition to traditional measures such as number of nouns, verbs, and sentence types, a new measure of information is introduced, the Utterance with New Information (UNI). The UNI is designed to assess content in non-propositional, impaired speech in open-ended discourse. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Noun production increased in participants of both treatments, whereas grammatical sentences increased only in participants of the semantic-phonologic treatment. Production of UNIs increased in participants of both treatments as well as over time. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that a few easily counted measures of discourse production can provide clinically useful information for the clinician. Moreover, these findings suggest discourse analysis is a viable method of determining treatment outcomes especially given that improving discourse is the ultimate goal of all aphasia treatments.

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