Direct and indirect treatment approaches for addressing short-term or working memory deficits in aphasia

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Background: A growing literature has documented that aphasia is frequently accompanied by deficits of short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM), and that such memory impairments may negatively influence language abilities and aphasia treatment outcomes. Consequently, treating STM and WM impairments in individuals with aphasia should not only remediate these memory impairments but also positively affect their response to language therapy programmes.

Aims: This paper critically reviews the aphasia literature pertaining to remediating, directly or indirectly, STM and WM deficits. Memory treatment protocols developed for other disordered as well as healthy populations are also discussed as possible therapy approaches to consider in future aphasia research.

Main Contribution: Findings from a limited set of studies suggest that STM and WM impairments in individuals with aphasia do respond to treatment, and further that these treatments may also positively affect the language abilities of individuals with aphasia.

Conclusions: Further research is warranted to establish the reliability and validity of these preliminary findings and to explore application of these treatments as well as those developed for nonaphasic populations to individuals representing a broader spectrum of aphasia types and severities.

Keywords: Aphasia; Memory training; Short-term memory; Treatment; Working memory

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences,Indiana University, Bloomington,IN, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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