Authors: Beeson PM, Bayley C, Shultz C, Rising K
Title: Maximising recovery from aphasia with central and peripheral agraphia: The benefit of sequential treatments
Source: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 2019 29(9): 1399-1425
Year: 2019
Research Design: Single Case Design

Maximal recovery from acquired language impairment may require progression from one behavioural treatment protocol to the next in order to build upon residual and relearned cognitive-linguistic and sensory-motor processes. We present a five-stage treatment sequence that was initiated at one year post stroke in a woman with acquired impairments of spoken and written language. As is typical of individuals with left perisylvian damage, she demonstrated marked impairment of phonological retrieval and sublexical phonology, but she also faced additional challenges due to impaired letter shape knowledge and visual attention. The treatment sequence included (1) written spelling of targeted words, (2) retraining sublexical sound-to-letter correspondences and phonological manipulation skills, (3) training strategic approaches to maximise interactive use of lexical, phonological, and orthographic knowledge, (4) lexical retrieval of spoken words, and finally (5) sentence-level stimulation to improve grammatical form of written narratives. This Phase II clinical study documented positive direct treatment outcomes along with evidence of a significant reduction in the underlying deficits and generalisation to untrained items and language tasks. Improvements on a comprehensive assessment battery were realised as functional gains in everyday written and spoken communication, including improved lexical retrieval and grammatical complexity of written narratives. This case provides a valuable example of the cumulative therapeutic benefit of sequential application of theoretically motivated treatment protocols.

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