A comparison of word versus sentence cues as therapy for verb naming in aphasia
Background: Improving verb naming in people with aphasia should enable expession of a wider range of sentence types and meanings, and may have wider benefits for connected speech. Estableshing the optimal therapy methods for improving verb naming is, therefore, of substantial clinical importance. Aims: This study investigated whether cueing sentence production would improve verb-naming accuracy to a greater extent than the more typical, single-word verb-cueing therapies. A second aim was to examine the extent to which verb picture naming improvements would generalise to naming of the same items in dynamic videos. Methods & Procedures: Seven participants with chronic aphasia including word retrieval impairment took part in a case-series study. Decreasing cues were used to devise two therapies to improve verb naming: word cue therapy and sentence cue therapy. A total of 60 verbs that had not been named accurately in baseline testing on three presentations were collated for each participant. These were split into three sets of 20 verbs: set A was used in word cue therapy, set B in sentence cue therapy, and set C served as control items undergoing no therapy. The sets were matched for significant psycholinguistic variables such as word frequency, imageability, length, and number of noun arguments. Therapy consisted of 10 sessions over 5 weeks. Post-therapy assessments consisted of an immediate naming assessment (1 week following therapy) and a follow-up assessment 5 weeks later. Naming of the target verbs in set A for each participant was also assessed using a dynamic video presentation. Outcomes & Results: Both therapies resulted in highly significant gains in naming accuracy for treated verbs with little, if any, carry-over to untreated verbs. There were no significant differences between the therapies for individual participants. At the group level there was a significantly greater benefit for word cue over sentence cue therapy at the follow-up naming assessment. The gains in verb naming post therapy generalised from the static depictions used in therapy to naming of the same items in the dynamic video presentation format. Conclusions: Both word and sentence cue therapy for verb naming were effective in improving naming accuracy. Gains from word cue therapy can generalise to naming of very different exemplars of the same verb targets. Word cue therapy resulted in significantly greater gains than sentence cues at the level of the group, but the difference was not substantial enough to be significant at the individual participant level. Generalisation, as an effect following intervention, can be examined in terms of naming different exemplars of a word, as well as its more typical meaning of generalisation from treated to untreated items in therapy.
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