The Impact of Computer-based Cognitive Treatment on Language Skills in an Individual with Aphasia

  • Author / Creator
    Malli, Caitlin L.R.
  • The cognitive theory of aphasia, which purports that the language impairments found in people with aphasia are due to underlying cognitive impairments, rather than to interruption of linguistic-specific areas of the brain, has been gaining clinical and research interest in recent years. Indeed, treatments targeted towards remediating cognitive impairments have resulted in improvements in cognitive and language functioning. Further, computer-based interventions have shown promise as a means for increasing therapy intensity without increasing workloads for therapists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a commercially-available, computer-based cognitive training program (BrainFitness) as an intervention for an individual with aphasia. Following 8 weeks (approximately 40 hours) of treatment, the participant demonstrated gains in language functioning as measured by the WAB-R and certain subtests of the Alberta Language Function Assessment Battery (ALFAB). The impact of the training on cognitive functioning was less clear. The results of this study suggest computer-based cognitive training may potentially benefit people with aphasia, but continued research is warranted. This type of treatment is not expected to replace therapy with speech-language pathologists, but to supplement the therapy already available to increase intensity of treatment without increasing workload for therapists. Examining a model addressing the neural connections underlying improvements resulting from auditory-based cognitive treatment may explain the mechanisms of recovery and the aspects of cognitive computer training that are most beneficial to recovery.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.