Authors: Webster J, Morris J, Connor C, Horner R, McCormac C, Potts A
Title: Text level reading comprehension in aphasia: What do we know about therapy and what do we need to know?
Source: Aphasiology 2013 27(11): 1362-1380
Year: 2013
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background: Reading comprehension difficulties are a common feature of aphasia, affecting the understanding of single words, sentences, paragraphs and extended text. Whilst there have been studies investigating treatment for single word reading, there are a limited number of studies of treatment methods targeting the reading of paragraphs and connected text. Aims: This paper will describe a series of single case studies, each investigating the effectiveness of a different therapy approach for paragraph level reading comprehension. The studies raise a number of issues regarding the assessment of reading, choice of therapy and measurement of outcome; these will be discussed in relation to the studies and the wider evidence base. Methods & Procedures: Four people with aphasia were involved in the studies. Participants presented with reading difficulties alongside other language difficulties. Each study involved a single case study, multiple baseline with control task design. Detailed assessment of reading comprehension was completed pre-therapy, post-therapy and at follow-up, approximately 2-4 weeks post-therapy. Participants were also asked about their pre-morbid reading abilities and preferences, their reading difficulties and their views about therapy and its impact. Outcomes & Results: All participants showed some improvement in the accuracy of reading comprehension but there was extensive variability in the significance of gains, when gains were seen and on which assessments. Post-therapy, three of the four participants read the assessment passages and answered the questions more quickly. All participants reported some positive change in their reading, either in reading ability, reading behaviour or feelings about reading, but again individual variation was evident in the extent and type of change perceived. Conclusions: These studies raise a number of important issues regarding the assessment of reading, therapy choice and measuring the outcome of therapy. These issues are discussed in relation to current literature, with an aim of informing future research investigating the assessment of, and therapy for, reading comprehension difficulties in people with aphasia. Reading is fundamental to everyday activities and developing the evidence base is of crucial importance in supporting people with aphasia to maximise their reading ability.

Access: Paywall