An investigation of the effectiveness of language retraining methods with aphastic stroke patients
Four main experiments were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of language treatment methods with aphasic stroke patients. Experiment 1 was designed to compare an operant speech training procedure devised by Goodkin (1966) with speech therapy and with an attention placebo treatment. Twenty-four patients with moderate aphasia (35 to 65 %ile on the PICA) received four weeks of speech therapy and four weeks of either operant training, or non-specific treatment. Results indicated no significant differences between the treatments. Patients showed significant improvement in language abilities but this was unrelated to age, months post onset or handedness. Experiment 2, was a preliminary investigation of speech therapy with eighteen severe aphasics (below 35 %ile on the PICA). Patients shov/ed significant improvement in language abilities but this was unrelated to age, months post onset or amount of speech therapy received. In Experiment 3 operant training and an attention placebo were each given for 4 weeks, in addition to speech therapy, to twelve severe aphasics. No significant differences occurred between treatments and patients showed significant change which was unrelated to age or months post onset. Experiment 4 compared the treated patients in Experiments 1 and 2 with a no treatment control group. Results indicated no significant differences between the groups over a four week interval. Three subsidiary experiments were carried out to assess the reliability of some assessment procedures used, the Token Test shortened version, the Object Naming test and the Speech Questionnaire. Language retraining methods, as used at Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre, were shown not to improve language abilities more than attention placebo treatments or no treatment. Patients' language abilities improved, but this was unrelated to biographical variables, such as age, months post onset and handedness.