A Functional Gestural Communication Intervention for Individuals with Chronic and Severe Aphasia

by Skylar Kay Powlen

Institution: Miami University
Department: Speech Pathology and Audiology
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Speech Therapy; aphasia; gesture; personally relevant; comprehension; gestural expression
Record ID: 2058672
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=miami1429723110


Introduction: Gestural communication intervention programs have been cited within the literature as a means to compensate for the deficits of aphasia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an intensive, personally relevant (PR), gesturally based group intervention program, would support comprehension and gestural expression in individuals with severe chronic aphasia. Methods: Four participants were enrolled in a single case research design for nine, two-hour treatment sessions, over three weeks. Participants received gestural training of PR stimuli in an intensive, group intervention. Results: Three of the four participants demonstrated large effect sizes within gestural comprehension. All of the participants demonstrated positive gains in gestural production of category and PR words. Conclusions: Comprehension can be enhanced with the use of personally relevant gestures in an intensive group intervention. In addition, production of PR gestures can increase following an intensive treatment protocol; however, results were variable due to participant’s limb apraxia.