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Using Visual Scene Displays to Improve Storytelling Conversations by Adults with Aphasia

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Background: Visual scene displays (VSDs) are AAC interfaces that utilize contextually rich photographs to support communication and participation by adults with aphasia.
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore whether adults with nonfluent aphasia could learn to use a personalized VSD application (app) on an iPad to improve storytelling. Specifically, we asked whether adults with chronic nonfluent aphasia demonstrated improved behaviors during storytelling in conversations that occurred following training with a VSD app, when compared to untrained storytelling conversations and conversations without VSD technology.
Method: We explored these questions using a multiple baseline design across topics by measuring successful conversational turns, information content, modalities, and number of conversational breakdowns. A simple cueing hierarchy was used as part of the instruction on the VSD app, ranging from independent access to maximal cueing.
Results: Data collection is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that the first participant with aphasia improved in accessing different functions and topics within the app (from 80% to 100% accuracy). In structured conversation, his facility at accessing topic, stories, and messages within conversation improved in that he required less cueing than he did at baseline.
Conclusion: Results suggest that adults with chronic nonfluent aphasia may be capable of learning to use a VSD application on an iPad to improve conversational storytelling. Based on our observations and consistent with the life participation approach to aphasia, the personal relevance of the photos and stories appear to be powerful motivators for participants to use the VSD system in conversation.

Author(s):

Joanne Lasker    
Emerson College
United States

Kristen Holz    
Emerson College
United States

 

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