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Cailyn Webb, Janet Preis, Ed.D.

Effectiveness of Semantic Feature Analysis Combined with Phonological and Orthographic Cueing on Word Retrieval in Adults with Non-Fluent Aphasia

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Aphasia is an acquired language impairment resulting from trauma to the brain that can affect any and all language modalities (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association [ASHA], n.d.). The language deficits found in aphasia differ according to extent and location of the brain damage and can manifest in difficulties in four main areas: spoken language expression, language comprehension, written expression, and reading comprehension (ASHA, n.d.). Individuals with non-fluent or anomic aphasia often struggle with word retrieval known as anomia which affects their ability to effectively communicate (Hegde, 2006). In turn, anomia is a common focus for speech-language therapy which aims to increase clients’ word finding abilities and therefore, increase overall verbal output. In order to promote word retrieval, a number of cognitive approaches, including Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) and orthographic and phonological cueing, are utilized (van Hees, Angwin, McMahon, & Copland, 2013).

Research has found that both Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) and orthographic and phonological cueing are effective techniques to improve word retrieval (Cameron, Wambaugh, Wright, & Nessler, 2006) However, additional research has found generalization of either approach to be limited (Macoir, Routhier, Simard, & Picard, 2012; Wambaugh, Mauszycki, & Wright, 2014). The success or lack of success within each varies according to where the breakdown in language may occur (van Hees et al., 2013). Because this breakdown is unknown, recent studies have compared the effectiveness of these two treatment approaches separately and in conjunction with each other (Hashimoto, 2012; van Hees et al., 2013). However, additional research is warranted in exploring a group design study for the effectiveness of the combination of these approaches to treat anomia in individuals with non-fluent aphasia.

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