Aphasia Rehabilitation and Bilingualism Research Lab | Communication Sciences and Disorders | Biobehavioral Sciences

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Communication Sciences & Disorders

In the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

Aphasia Rehabilitation and Bilingualism Research Lab

Background, Mission and Research

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Aphasia is an acquired language disorder most often caused by stroke (as well as traumatic brain injury, dementia, and more). Aphasia results in impairments in the production and comprehension of language that can significantly compromise a person’s ability to communicate in all facets of life. At the heart of the lab’s mission is clinical research focused on the development and systematic evaluation of novel treatments for aphasia that aim to improve effective communication in persons with aphasia. 

Our current and ongoing treatment research involves projects that target

    • improved word retrieval in spoken production of sentences and discourse (Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (VNeST)),
    • improved written discourse (Attentive Reading and Constrained Summarization-Writing (ARCS-W) and Compterized VNeST (VNeST-C)),
    • improved word retrieval in Spanish-English bilinguals with a focus on the effect of treatment in one language on the other, untrained, language.

We are also evaluating the effectiveness of some of these treatments provided through telerehabilitation (where the participants are at home, and the clinicians are in the clinic), since there is a pressing need to provide access to treatment to people who cannot regularly get to a therapist.  The other aspect of clinical research conducted in the lab is the development of assessment materials for persons with Spanish-English bilingual aphasia, as there is a shortage of materials to assess the effects of aphasia in this population.

Finally, we conduct more basic research that informs our understanding of normal cognitive and linguistic functions with a focus on semantic processing of verbs and thematic roles and discourse production. This research also informs the development of our assessment and treatment protocols.

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