Authors: Chen W, Qian Q, van de Weijer J, Zhu S, Wang M
Title: Adaptation of Melodic Intonation Therapy to a Tone Language: A Pilot Study of Tone-Rhythmic Therapy in Mandarin Chinese
Source: Folia Phoniatrica et Logopedica 2023 75(2): 104-116
Year: 2023
Research Design: Single Case Design

Introduction: Although melodic intonation therapy (MIT) has proven effective in individuals with non-fluent aphasia in a variety of western languages, its application to Mandarin-speaking aphasic patients has not been thoroughly studied. The adaptation is complicated because Mandarin Chinese is a tone language with specific prosodic elements that differ from Indo-European languages. This study developed a Chinese-specific variant of MIT, i.e., tone-rhythmic therapy (TRT), and tested its efficacy in individuals with non-fluent aphasia. Methods: Six non-fluent aphasic patients were recruited; all of them were admitted to the study over 6 months after stroke and had received a standard program of language therapy. In the current research, tone and rhythmic practice were incorporated into the training procedures, and the adaptation was then examined in patients. The TRT treatment lasted 6 weeks, with five 50-min sessions per week. The Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination (BDAE) and the Functional Assessment of Communication Skills for Adults (FACS) tests were used to measure the change in the speech and language skills of patients. Results: The results showed that the patients had increased BDAE and FACS scores after intervention, and the treatment effect lasted for 6 months. Discussion: The modified MIT proved effective for Mandarin-speaking patients with non-fluent aphasia with lasting effects. Further studies evaluating its efficacy are needed for other types of aphasia and other tone languages.

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