Background: Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that occurs secondary to brain injury, such as stroke. It causes communication difficulties that have a significant impact on quality of life and social relationships. Although the efficacy of speech-language therapy has been clearly demonstrated in this population, long-term services are currently limited due to logistical and financial constraints. In this context, the potential contribution of technology, such as smart tablets, is worth exploring, especially to improve vocabulary that is relevant in daily life.
Aims: The main aim was to investigate the efficacy of a self-administered treatment using a smart tablet to improve naming of functional words in post-stroke anomia.
Methods & procedures: Four adults with post-stroke aphasia took part in the study. An ABA design with multiple baselines was used to compare naming performances for four equivalent lists: (1) trained with functional words chosen with the participant; (2) trained with words randomly chosen from a picture database; (3) exposed but not trained; and (4) not exposed (control).
Outcomes & results: For all participants, the treatment self-administered at home (four times/week for 4 weeks) resulted in a significant improvement for both sets of trained words that was maintained 2 months after the end of treatment. Moreover, in two participants, evidence of generalization to conversation was found.
Conclusions & implications: This study confirms the efficacy of using smart tablets to improve naming in post-stroke aphasia. Although more studies are needed, the use of new technologies is unquestionably a promising approach to improve communication skills in people with aphasia, especially by targeting vocabulary that is relevant to them in their daily lives.
Keywords: anomia; aphasia; smart tablet; treatment.
© 2018 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.