Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for Individuals with Chronic Severe Aphasia: An Evidence-Based Practice Process Illustration Editor’s Note: Portions of this article first appeared in Chapter 18 of The Efficacy of Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Toward Evidence-Based Practice, edited by Ralf Schlosser and published in 2003 by Academic Press. Individuals with chronic severe global aphasia and Broca’s aphasia frequently require some type of AAC intervention ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2003
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for Individuals with Chronic Severe Aphasia: An Evidence-Based Practice Process Illustration
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melinda Corwin
    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
  • Rajinder Koul
    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Evidence-Based Practice
Article   |   September 01, 2003
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for Individuals with Chronic Severe Aphasia: An Evidence-Based Practice Process Illustration
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2003, Vol. 12, 11-15. doi:10.1044/aac12.4.11
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2003, Vol. 12, 11-15. doi:10.1044/aac12.4.11
Editor’s Note: Portions of this article first appeared in Chapter 18 of The Efficacy of Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Toward Evidence-Based Practice, edited by Ralf Schlosser and published in 2003 by Academic Press.
Individuals with chronic severe global aphasia and Broca’s aphasia frequently require some type of AAC intervention because traditional aphasia treatment techniques involving linguistic skill retraining have been largely unsuccessful (Nicholas & Helm-Esta-brooks, 1990).
Graphic symbols—such as line drawings, pictographs, visual input communication, cut-out paper symbols—and less transparent symbol systems like Blissymbolics have been used as an alternative form of communication in individuals with severe aphasia (e.g., Sawyer-Woods, 1987). In addition to graphic symbols, manual signs and gestures have also been used to facilitate communication in individuals with severe aphasia (e.g., Hermann, Reichle, Lucius-Hoene, Wallesch, & Johansen-Horbach, 1988). Results suggest that individuals with severe aphasia are able to acquire, with varying degrees of success, graphic symbols, manual signs, and gestures (Funnell & Allport, 1989; Helm-Estabrooks, Fitzpatrick, & Barresi, 1982). Further, in contrast to natural, spoken language, the production of “sentences” using graphic symbols does not require complex morphosyntactic, phonetic, or articulatory processing. The absence of such complex processing demands suggests that it may be relatively easier to acquire and use graphic symbols for communication in contrast to natural language symbols. However, the ability of individuals with severe aphasia to use the alternative forms of communication outside structured treatment contexts has been limited. This lack of generalization may be due to inadequate emphasis being given to factors such as communication partner training, participatory patterns, and communicative needs of individuals demonstrating aphasia (Garrett & Beukel-man, 1998). A mere replacement of natural language with a graphic symbol, manual sign, or computer-based AAC system will not facilitate the functional communication skills of individuals with severe Broca’s or global aphasia.
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