Purpose: Over and above language deficits, persons with aphasia can present with impairments in executive functions, including deficits in cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility constitutes the ability to update behaviour quickly and flexibly in a changing environment. Its deficits can restrict communicative ability, e. g. the ability to change a topic. To date, these deficits have been neglected in aphasia therapy, even though their consideration regarding language treatment may be beneficial for the persons affected. The present study aimed to evaluate whether aphasia therapy including cognitive flexibility leads to more improvement than conventional aphasia therapy. Method: A pilot group study with ten patients was conducted. The patients received both the novel Cognitive Flexibility in Aphasia Therapy (CFAT) and conventional aphasia therapy in a cross-over design. Each therapy method was delivered for 20 sessions within two weeks. An assessment battery was applied five times, including language skills, communicative ability and verbal/nonverbal cognitive flexibility. Result: Patients profited from CFAT regarding language skills, communicative ability and verbal cognitive flexibility. Furthermore, compared to conventional therapy, CFAT was more effective for verbal cognitive flexibility. Conclusion: This pilot study indicates that CFAT offers a novel opportunity to directly train cognitive flexibility in communicative settings and complements conventional therapy for optimal patient outcome.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Apr 2021|
- executive function
- speech therapy