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Word Retrieval in Aphasia

presented by Mary Boyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, ASHA Fellow

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Financial— Mary Boyle receives compensation from MedBridge for the production of this course. There are no other relevant financial relationships. Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

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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Word retrieval difficulty is the most frequent impairment in stroke-induced aphasia, affecting every one of the more than 2.7 million people with aphasia in the United States. This course will provide a review of how word retrieval occurs in neurologically healthy adults and how it is impaired in people with aphasia. It will also review how the cognitive domains of language and memory interact during word production, from the single word to the discourse level of language. Finally, methods of assessing word retrieval problems and treatment outcomes will be reviewed.

Meet Your Instructor

Mary Boyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, ASHA Fellow

Mary Boyle, PhD., CCC-SLP is a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist and Professor/Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University. Dr. Boyle received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Northwestern University and her B.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Word Retrieval Impairment in Aphasia

This section reviews the various manifestations of word retrieval problems in aphasia. Examining the variety of ways that aphasia interferes with word retrieval provides a basis for understanding current models of word retrieval, its interaction with memory, and how it affects higher levels of language production.

2. The Semantic System and Word Retrieval

This section covers the organization of the semantic system and current thinking about how it works with other language processes during successful word retrieval. This information is important for understanding (1) what might be happening when word retrieval fails, and (2) the principles that underlie semantically-based treatments for word retrieval impairment. It also forms the basis for understanding how word retrieval works in connected speech, and why people with aphasia might perform differently in naming tasks than in connected speech.

3. Interactions with Memory and Levels of Language Production

So far, we’ve considered retrieval of single words from a purely linguistic perspective. However, adults don’t usually communicate in single words. Furthermore, we know that there are strong, intrinsic relationships between the cognitive domains of language and memory. This section covers how the semantic and memory systems work together to retrieve words, how we think word retrieval happens in connected speech, and how word retrieval impairment affects connected speech.

4. Assessing Word Retrieval Impairment

Most speech-language pathologists are familiar with methods of assessing confrontation naming. This section briefly reviews assessments of single-word retrieval. However, if our treatments are going to have an impact on people’s lives, we need to assess the impact of word retrieval impairment on connected speech. We review methods that have been used in treatment outcome studies, identifying those that are more clinician-friendly and aphasia-friendly.

5. Clinical Implications

This section provides a brief summary of the course with emphasis on clinical relevance. Understanding how word retrieval works in healthy brains and how it is impaired in aphasia provides a foundation for understanding the principles behind semantically-based treatments for aphasia.

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