Authors: Caute A, Pring T, Cocks N, Cruice M, Best W, Marshall J
Title: Enhancing communication through gesture and naming therapy
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2013 56(1): 337-351
Year: 2013
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 05/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - N
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Purpose: In this study, the authors investigated whether gesture, naming, and strategic treatment improved the communication skills of 14 people with severe aphasia. Method: All participants received 15 hr of gesture and naming treatment (reported in a companion article [Marshall et al., 2012]). Half the group received a further 15 hr of strategic therapy, whereas the remaining 7 participants received no further input. The effects of therapy on communication were assessed with 2 novel measures. These measures required each participant to convey simple messages and narratives to his or her communication partner. In both assessments, a subset of the stimuli featured items that had been targets in gesture or naming treatment. Results: Performance on the communication measures was stable over 2 baseline assessments but improved after gesture and naming treatment. Those participants who received additional strategic therapy made further gains on the message but not on the narrative task. Communication gains were not specific to the stimuli featuring trained items. Conclusions: This study suggests that gesture and naming treatments can benefit interactive communication. The additional benefits of strategic therapy were less clear-cut but did have an impact on the transmission of simple messages. Gains seem to reflect the development of general communication skills rather than the use of trained gestures and/or words.

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