Authors: Orenstein E, Basilakos A, Marshall RS
Title: Effects of mindfulness meditation on three individuals with aphasia
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2012 47(6): 673-684
Year: 2012
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background: There is evidence to suggest that people with aphasia (PWA) may have deficits in attention stemming from the inefficient allocation of resources. The inaccurate perception of task demand, or sense of effort, may underlie the misallocation of the available attention resources. Given the lack of treatment options for improving attention in aphasia, Mindfulness Meditation, shown to improve attention in neurologically intact individuals,may prove effective in increasing attention in PWA. Aims: The purpose of the present study was to determine if Mindfulness Meditation improves divided attention or language in PWA and if it affects the overall sense of effort. Methods & Procedures: A multiple baseline single-subject design was used to determine the effects of Mindfulness Meditation on divided attention for three PWA. Divided attention was measured using a non-linguistic divided attention task. Visual inspection of the data was used to determine changes in performance (sense of effort, reaction time and accuracy, language) over time. Outcomes & Results:High performance observed on the attention measures suggests that PWA have varying degrees of attentional impairment that may surface when certain demands are presented. There were no observable changes in the performance on the sense of effort or language measures; however, measures of reaction time may indicate Mindfulness Meditation improved efficiency of task completion. Conclusions & Implications: All three participants reported that Mindfulness Meditation was easy to learn and carry out on a daily basis, and reported feeling more ‘relaxed’ and ‘peaceful’ after Mindfulness Meditation training than before. With the knowledge that PWA can learn meditative practices, and with such successful findings in neurologically intact individuals, it is important to continue evaluating the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation in PWA.

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