Authors: Bailey DJ, Nessler C, Berggren KN, Wambaugh JL
Title: An Aphasia Treatment for Verbs With Low Concreteness: A Pilot Study
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2020 29(1): 299-318
Year: 2020
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: Verbs with low concreteness are frequent in discourse samples but rarely targeted in aphasia treatments for verbs. These verbs are an important part of functional communication, and recent studies have called for more research regarding aphasia and treatment stimuli with low concreteness. The aim of this study was to pilot the use of verbs with low concreteness in a novel sentence production intervention with persons with aphasia. Method: The study took the form of a single-case experimental design with multiple baselines across behaviors and across participants. Three persons with chronic nonfluent aphasia and apraxia of speech participated in the study. Each participant received treatment designed to increase the semantic networks of verbs with high frequency and low concreteness. Sentence production was closely examined over the course of treatment for treated and untreated verbs of varying concreteness levels. Additional measures of language and cognitive functioning were also taken before and after treatment. Results: Results indicated improved sentence production with target verbs attributable to the treatment in the 1st phase of 2 phases for 2 of the 3 participants. The increases corresponded with the application of treatment, despite the difference in number of baseline sessions for the participants. Where there were treatment effects, there was also considerable generalization to untreated sets of items during the 1st treatment phase. Word retrieval also improved for 2 participants. Conclusions: The results suggest that the novel treatment may improve sentence production and word retrieval in persons with aphasia, even when using target verbs with low concreteness ratings. Future research is warranted into the use of low concreteness verbs.

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