Authors: Russell S, Laures-Gore J, Patel R
Title: Treating Expressive Aprosodia: A Case Study
Source: Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology 2010 18(4): 115-119
Year: 2010
Research Design: Single Case Design

Emerging evidence suggests that treatment of expensive aprosodia is amenable through imitative mechanism-based approaches. Evidence supporting the use of these behavioral treatments has primarily been restricted to perceptual measures. The parallel use of objective acoustic measures and subjective perceptual analyses may reveal added insights into the type and degree of treatment effects. The present case study describes a participant diagnosed with aprosodia who took part in an imitative mechanism-based treatment. Acoustic analysis examined changes in fundamental frequency (F0), intensity, and duration used to mark contrastive stress, questions, and emotional force. A subset of recordings from the contrastive stress and sentences with emotion datasets were selected for a perceptual experiment with 20 unfamiliar listeners. Results indicated that although the client made minimal progress across treatment in terms of acoustic cues, listeners were able to identify linguistic contrasts with increased accuracy across treatment sessions; however, the ability to discern emotional tone decreased as treatment progressed. Implementation of slow speaking rate appeared to facilitate the ability to mark some linguistic contrasts but had adverse consequences on conveying emotion. These findings underscore the importance of using acoustic and perceptual measures to assess treatment outcome and the need to evaluate treatment effects across communicative tasks.

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