APHASIOLOGY, 2005, 19 (10/11), 1074±1089
Analysing the language therapy process: The implicit role of
learning and memory
Jacqueline Ann Stark
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Background: Analysis of language recovery has focused primarily on the linguistic aspects of
language therapy provided to people with aphasia. The preservation and influence of cognitive skills has been taken for granted, although factors such as memory, attention, and
learning are fundamental to an understanding of the language rehabilitation process.
Aims: The goals of this paper are to elucidate the ELA-syntax treatment protocol, which aims
at ameliorating oral sentence production, and to demonstrate how significant gains in performance might be attributed to aspects of its structure and content, in particular, its use of
verbal recall in the therapy procedure.
Methods & Procedures: A qualitative analysis of the structure of a single ELA therapy
session and data from a single-case study, TH, will be presented in support of the issues
being addressed. Transcriptions of single therapy sessions from the beginning, middle, and
end of the three protocols are analysed with particular emphasis on sentence recall.
Outcomes & Results: From early on in language therapy, TH demonstrated a relatively good
ability to recall, i.e., convey the content of the sentences worked on in therapy sessions. This
performance contrasted with his poor initial spontaneous production of each sentence. TH's
severe verb retrieval difficulties improved and the length of the sentences produced in
therapy increased from an average of 5.25 to 10.0 words. A carryover to discourse and
pragmatic-level tasks and to written sentence production is also observed.
Conclusions: The use of ``delay'' and a form of personalised cueing appear to play a crucial
role in facilitating the retrieval of information from memory for oral sentence production.
Incorporating the task of recalling the content...