Authors: Rebstock AM, Wallace SE
Title: Effects of a combined semantic feature analysis and multimodal treatment for primary progressive aphasia: Pilot study
Source: Communication Disorders Quarterly 2020 41(2): 71-85
Year: 2020
Research Design: Single Case Design

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by language and cognitive decline. Word-retrieval deficits are the most common PPA symptom and contribute to impaired spoken expression. Intense semantic interventions show promise for improving word retrieval in people with PPA. In addition, people with PPA may learn to use alternative communication modalities when they are unable to retrieve a word. However, executive function impairments can cause people to struggle to switch among modalities to repair communication breakdowns.This study examined the effects of a combined semantic feature analysis and multimodal communication program (SFA+MCP) on word-retrieval accuracy, switching among modalities, and overall communicative effectiveness in a person with PPA. An adult female with PPA completed SFA+MCP. Baseline, probe, intervention, and postintervention sessions were completed to measure word-retrieval accuracy and switching between communication modalities. A postintervention listener task was completed to measure communicative effectiveness. Changes in word-retrieval accuracy and switching were minimal. However, the listeners' identification of the participant's communication attempts was more accurate following treatment, suggesting increased overall communicative effectiveness. Further investigations of SFA+MCP, specifically relative to timing, intensity, and appropriate modifications for people with cognitive impairments associated with PPA are warranted.

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