Authors: Santamaria KD, Munoz ML, Atkins JL, Hobbs DR, O'Donald K
Title: A preliminary investigation into the application of processing instruction as therapy for aphasia in Spanish speakers
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2013 46(4): 338-350
Year: 2013
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: This study was a preliminary investigation into the use of processing instruction (PI) to improve the use of the personal '. a' to assign thematic roles in Spanish sentences for second language (L2) learners and persons with aphasia (PWA). Evidence suggests that PI is an effective teaching method for L2 learners with errant processing strategies. However its use with PWA with an acquired inability to process syntactic cues is unknown. Methods: Thirty non-impaired Spanish as a second language learners and two Spanish-speaking PWA participated in this study. PI involved the use of explicit instruction and structured input activities with nouns and pronouns. Each participant's performance was assessed pre and post treatment. Two experimental and one control groups of L2 learners completed the PI activities over two days. PWA completed PI in individual sessions over four day and received additional cues. Conclusions: L2 learners who received PI demonstrated significant improvement in the comprehension and production of '. a'. However, the Spanish-speaking PWA demonstrated mixed results. Both of the PWA exhibited gains in the comprehension of '. a' on referential tasks. One participant with aphasia demonstrated improved comprehension post-testing, and neither participant demonstrated gains on production post-testing. Results suggest that PI may be useful for increasing syntactic comprehension in people with aphasia. Findings from the current study are used to guide suggestions for further modification and use of PI as a treatment strategy for PWA.

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