Efficacy of group conversation intervention in individuals with severe profiles of aphasia
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The present study examines the efficacy of group conversation intervention for Individuals with Severe Aphasia (IWSA) in a preliminary case study of five participants. IWSA are particularly marginalized from society as a result of profound communication deficits. Current efficacious treatment strategies for IWSA are compensatory in nature however, IWSA have the same goals of less severe profiles with regard to rengagement in social and community life. IWSA are commonly excluded from research regarding participation based treatment due to their complex profiles. Aims of the study were to determine if IWSA improved in discrete linguistic measures, functional and quality of life measures and targeted elements of discourse production as a result of 20 total hours of group conversation therapy. Results of evaluations conducted at pre-treatment, post-treatment and maintenance intervals revealed significant improvements on standardized linguistic measures from pre to post treatment for two of the five participants. Group analysis of functional measures showed no change across testing intervals, however when individual clinically significant change scores were calculated on one measure, three of five participants demonstrated clinically significant increase in self-reported communicative effectiveness at maintenance testing. Results of discourse analysis were variable by participant and dependent on targeted outcome measures/individualized goals. Overall, results should be interpreted with caution, due to the variability in the participant’s profiles, lack of a standard measurement tool for narrative samples and small sample size. Patterns in results prompt further research regarding efficacy of conversation therapy for IWSA.