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Auditory Comprehension Deficit in Aphasia: Evidence-Based Treatment

presented by Janet Patterson, PhD, CCC-SLP and Mary Purdy, PhD, CCC-SLP

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Disclosure Statement:


Dr. Patterson receives an honorarium for this course, a salary from St. Mary’s College, and royalties from Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Dr. Purdy receives an honorarium for this course and salaries from Southern Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut.


Dr. Patterson is a member of the Academy of Neurological Communication Disorders and Sciences and its Evidence-Based Clinical Research Committee, Aphasia Writing Group.

Dr. Purdy is a member of the Academy of Neurological Communication Disorders and Sciences and its Evidence-Based Clinical Research Committee, Aphasia Writing Group.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 39 Minutes, Learning Assessments: 46 Minutes

Goals to improve auditory comprehension deficit are regularly included in treatment plans for persons with aphasia. However, research reporting evidence for treatment protocols is limited, with inadequate replication to support confident clinical decision-making in selecting a treatment protocol that best aligns with a client's needs. Results of a recent review of treatment approaches for auditory comprehension deficit in aphasia will be discussed. In addition, information in this course presents strategies and best practices for mindful clinical decision-making to select, modify, and implement a client-centered treatment program. The adverse effects of program drift, voltage drop, and other factors in treatment effectiveness will be discussed in the context of mitigating actions a clinician can take to maximize optimal outcome. Additional topics presented in this course are knowledge components required to identify the rationale for treatment protocol and modifications; strategies a clinician should take to link a rationale to specific actions when implementing a protocol; how to identify supporting evidence for protocol modification; and strategies for planning client-centered, situationally relevant outcome measures.

Meet Your Instructors

Janet Patterson, PhD, CCC-SLP

Janet Patterson is chief of the the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Service at the VA in Northern California. Prior to that, she held academic positions as faculty member, associate dean, and department chair at California State University East Bay, Central Michigan University, and Michigan State University. With coeditor Patrick Coppens, PhD, CCC-SLP, she published Aphasia…

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Mary Purdy, PhD, CCC-SLP

Mary Purdy is professor emeritus at Southern Connecticut State University, where she taught courses on aphasia and related neurogenic communication disorders. She is board certified by the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences and has authored articles, book chapters, and presentations related to aphasia. Throughout her career, she has provided clinical services to individuals…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Auditory Comprehension Deficit: Evidence-Based Treatment Protocols

Recent research suggests that treatment for auditory comprehension deficit accompanying aphasia can be effective. However, the evidence for these treatment protocols is limited and variable in quality, therefore complicating the clinical decision-making process and reducing confidence in the applicability of a particular technique in a clinical environment. This chapter reviews components of selected protocols, including the theoretical rationale for the protocol; the type of treatment: auditory modality, mixed modality, or indirect; and specific clinical actions required during treatment.

2. Program Drift, Voltage Drop, and Treatment Fidelity: Determining the Best Match Between a Person With Aphasia, a Treatment Protocol, and a Clinical Setting

Attaining the optimal outcome of a treatment protocol is influenced by many variables, including client-related, clinician-related, and facility-related factors. This chapter discusses factors related to program drift and voltage drop, both of which affect treatment fidelity and reduce the effectiveness of a treatment protocol when delivered in a clinical environment.

3. Treatment Outcome: Planning Client-Centered Treatment and Measuring Outcome

Crucial to achieving an optimal outcome is linking the theoretical rationale for a treatment; the communication aims set for a client and factors that may interfere with achieving those aims; conditions under which protocol modification is warranted; and reasons for modification. In this course, a method for linking these knowledge components will be presented as a pathway to planning client-centered treatment and selecting situationally relevant outcome measures.

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