“Do you have mowing the lawn?”: Improvements in word retrieval and grammar following constraint-induced language therapy in primary progressive aphasia

Inga Hameister, Lyndsey Nickels, Stefanie Abel, Karen Croot

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    Abstract

    Background: Much recent progress has been made in developing
    speech–language therapy in primary progressive aphasia (PPA).
    Several treatment approaches that have shown significant effects
    with people with aphasia have been adapted and re-evaluated for
    PPA. Constraint-induced aphasia therapy (CIAT) is a well-evaluated
    method that has yielded significant language improvements in
    people with post-stroke aphasia but has not yet been evaluated
    with people with PPA. Nevertheless, the combination of CIAT
    features like massed practice and a motivating communicative
    setting seem likely to make it a suitable tool for improving the
    speech and language performance of individuals with PPA as well.
    Aims: This study investigates the effectiveness of a modified CIAT
    protocol on word retrieval, grammatical structure and connected
    speech in two individuals with non-fluent variant PPA (nfvPPA).
    Methods and procedures: Two participants with nfvPPA took part in a
    9-day intensive CIAT-based group therapy with additional computerbased
    home training. Stimuli were 120 photos of people performing
    daily life activities, which could be described using a simple (e.g., “The
    man is mowing the lawn”) or reduced (e.g., “mowing the lawn”)
    sentence structure. During the treatment phase, the participants
    were required to request picture cards from other group members
    using spoken language only. The task difficulty was increased hierarchically
    (shaped) in accordance to each participant’s performance
    level.
    Outcomes and results: Directly after therapy, both participants
    achieved significant improvements in their noun and verb naming
    accuracy and their grammatical structure for trained items. Training
    effects were maintained 2 months after therapy. Moreover, generalisation
    to different pictures of the same item was found for both
    participants and one participant also showed improved grammatical
    structure when describing untrained pictures. No significant generalisation
    to untrained connected speech samples was observed for either
    participant.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAphasiology
    Volume31
    Issue number3
    Early online date20 Jun 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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