Aphasia rehabilitation: Does generalisation from anomia therapy occur and is it predictable? A case series study

Wendy Best*, Alison Greenwood, Jennie Grassly, Ruth Herbert, Julie Hickin, David Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The majority of adults with acquired aphasia have anomia which can respond to rehabilitation with cues. However, the literature and clinical consensus suggest change is usually limited to treated items. We investigated the effect of an experimentally controlled intervention using progressive cues in the rehabilitation of noun retrieval/production in 16 participants with chronic aphasia. Method: Participants were sub-divided relative to the group according to performance on semantic tasks (spoken/written word to picture matching) and phonological output processing (presence/absence of word length effect and proportion of phonological errors in picture naming) in order to investigate outcome in relation to language profile. Cueing therapy took place weekly for 8 weeks. Results: Intervention resulted in significant improvement on naming treated items for 15/16 participants, with stable performance on control tasks. Change occurred at the point of intervention and not during pre-therapy assessments. We predicted particular patterns of generalisation which were upheld. Only participants classified as having relatively less of a semantic difficulty and more of a phonological output deficit demonstrated generalisation to untreated items. Outcome did not relate to traditional aphasia classification. Conclusion: A cueing hierarchy can improve word retrieval/production for adults with aphasia. In some cases generalisation to untreated items also occurs. The study demonstrates that the results of behavioural testing can be used to guide predictions of recovery with intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2345-2357
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anomia
  • Aphasia
  • Generalisation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapy


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