Authors: Kurland J, Liu A, Stokes P
Title: Effects of a Tablet-Based Home Practice Program With Telepractice on Treatment Outcomes in Chronic Aphasia
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2018 61(5): 1140-1156
Year: 2018
Research Design: Case Series

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if a tablet-based home practice program with weekly telepractice support could enable long-term maintenance of recent treatment gains and foster new language gains in poststroke aphasia. Method: In a pre–post group study of home practice outcomes, 21 individuals with chronic aphasia were examined before and after a 6-month home practice phase and again at follow-up 4 months later. The main outcome measure studied was change in naming previously treated or untreated, practiced or unpracticed pictures of objects and actions. Individualized home practice programs were created in iBooks Author with semantic, phonemic, and orthographic cueing in pictures, words, and videos in order to facilitate naming of previously treated or untreated pictures. Results: Home practice was effective for all participants with severity moderating treatment effects, such that individuals with the most severe aphasia made and maintained fewer gains. There was a negative relationship between the amount of training required for iPad proficiency and improvements on practiced and unpracticed pictures and a positive relationship between practice compliance and same improvements. Conclusion: Unsupervised home practice with weekly video teleconferencing support is effective. This study demonstrates that even individuals with chronic severe aphasia, including those with no prior smart device or even computer experience, can attain independent proficiency to continue practicing and improving their language skills beyond therapy discharge. This could represent a low-cost therapy option for individuals without insurance coverage and/or those for whom mobility is an obstacle to obtaining traditional aphasia therapy.

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