Language-Specific Attention Treatment for Aphasia: Description and Preliminary Findings

Semin Speech Lang. 2017 Feb;38(1):5-16. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1597260. Epub 2017 Feb 15.


The need for a specific, language-based treatment approach to aphasic impairments associated with attentional deficits is well documented. We describe language-specific attention treatment, a specific skill-based approach for aphasia that exploits increasingly complex linguistic tasks that focus attention. The program consists of eight tasks, some with multiple phases, to assess and treat lexical and sentence processing. Validation results demonstrate that these tasks load on six attentional domains: (1) executive attention; (2) attentional switching; (3) visual selective attention/processing speed; (4) sustained attention; (5) auditory-verbal working memory; and (6) auditory processing speed. The program demonstrates excellent inter- and intrarater reliability and adequate test-retest reliability. Two of four people with aphasia exposed to this program demonstrated good language recovery whereas three of the four participants showed improvements in auditory-verbal working memory. The results provide support for this treatment program in patients with aphasia having no greater than a moderate degree of attentional impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia / diagnosis
  • Aphasia / rehabilitation*
  • Executive Function
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Language Therapy / methods*
  • Language*
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Reading
  • Speech Perception
  • Verbal Learning