Authors: Bruce C, Newton C
Title: ‘What’s cooking?’ A comparison of an activity-oriented and a table-top programme of therapy on the language performance of people with aphasia
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2019 54(3): 430-443
Year: 2019
Research Design: Case Series

Background: Many people with aphasia have word-finding difficulties, with some showing particular difficulties with verbs. Picture-naming therapy is often used to improve naming, but gains are usually limited to therapy items and do not transfer to conversation. Therapy where words are produced in sentences and in real-life activities may be more effective. Aims: The current pilot study investigated whether an activity-oriented therapy approach would be accepted and viable if implemented in a community setting, and whether communicating whilst cooking was more beneficial than using paper-based activities. If successful, it would be expected that verb production would improve in structured and unstructured tasks in both naming and narrative tasks. Methods & Procedures: The study employed a case-series repeated-measures design, with testing of treated and control items. Seven adults with anomia participated, although only five completed the full programme. Participants were divided into two groups and each group completed both treatments, but in different orders. Each treatment was employed for six 2-h sessions over a 3-week period. Outcomes & Results: Naming of both treated and untreated verbs showed a statistically significant improvement following both treatments and this continued into the maintenance phase. There was a numerical but not statistically significant gain in the variety of verbs used in spoken narratives. Participants predominantly chose positive terms to describe their experience of the programme, but did not prefer one therapy over the other. Conclusions & Implications: Preliminary findings suggest that an activity-oriented therapy approach, whether it involves carrying out tasks or paper-based activities, can result in clinically meaningful improvements for people with chronic aphasia. Further research using a randomized control trial is required to determine whether cooking therapy alone is effective.

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