Phonological therapy for word-finding difficulties: A re-evaluation

Julie Hickin*, Wendy Best, Ruth Herbert, David Howard, Felicity Osborne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Treatments for word-finding difficulties in aphasia using semantic techniques have been shown to be effective (e.g., Marshall, Pound, White-Thomson, & Pring, 1990). The evidence with regard to phonological treatment is more equivocal, however, with some studies reporting only short-term improvement in word retrieval (e.g., Howard, Patterson, Franklin, Orchard-Lisle, & Morton, 1985a) and other studies reporting lasting effects (e.g., Miceli, Amitrano, Capasso, & Caramazza, 1996). There is also little in the literature on the use of orthographic cues in treatment (Howard & Harding, 1998). Additionally, whereas several studies have reported the results of using cues in facilitation of word-finding difficulties (e.g., Patterson, Purrell, & Morton, 1983), none so far has attempted to relate response to facilitation and response to treatment using similar techniques in the same individuals. Aims: This study set out to investigate whether the use of phonological and orthographic cues in the treatment of word-finding difficulties could produce lasting improvements in word retrieval. The response of the participants to phonological and orthographic cues in a facilitation study was also related to their response to treatment using similar cues. Methods & procedures: The study used a case series design. The participants were eight people with acquired aphasia who were all at least 1 year post-onset, had a single left CVA, and had word-finding difficulties as a significant aspect of their aphasia. Detailed assessment of each participant was carried out to identify the nature of their word-finding difficulties and this was related to response to treatment. Outcomes & results: Results are given for the eight participants, seven of whom benefited overall from treatment. Both phonological and orthographic cues were effective in improving word retrieval. For the group as a whole there was a significant correlation between the overall outcome of facilitation and response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-999
Number of pages19
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


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