Learning ability as a predictor of success with therapy

Vallila Rohter, Sofia and Kiran, Swathi (2013) Learning ability as a predictor of success with therapy. [Clinical Aphasiology Paper]

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Research has shown that therapy can significantly improve the communicative success of patients with aphasia. In spite of progress made in the field of aphasia rehabilitation, questions remain regarding the influence of factors such as severity of aphasia and measures of cognitive and linguistic ability on language recovery. A major limitation currently facing clinicians is the inability to predict therapy outcomes or tailor treatment to individuals. We aim to introduce a fundamentally new approach that looks beyond language, proposing that the answer to developing efficacious, individually tailored therapies lies in a better understanding of the supporting systems and networks of general learning. Learning is integral to the processes of forming associations, recalling information and applying rules (Seger & Miller, 2010 for review). Learning requires attention, strategy use, feedback monitoring and integration, skills likely to contribute to the process of achieving gains through therapy. Thus, we suggest that predicting whether a patient will improve following therapy instruction may depend more upon that individual’s ability to learn new information in general than upon a specific ability to relearn or re-access language. In support of this hypothesis are recent neuroimaging studies that have found success with language therapy to be associated with structures and functional networks associated with learning and memory; rather than with structures considered essential to language (Goldenberg & Spatt, 1994; Meinzer et al., 2010; Menke et al., 2009). In addition, a recent study by Vallila-Rohter & Kiran (2013) suggests that patients with aphasia vary in their ability to learn non-linguistic categories. We propose that learning ability is yet another factor that contributes to treatment outcomes. In the current study we explore the relationship between learning ability and progress with language therapy. We hypothesize that non-verbal learning phenotype (learning slope) will be positively associated with treatment outcomes.

Item Type: Clinical Aphasiology Paper
Depositing User: OSCP Staff 1
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2013
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 15:13
Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference > Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2013 : 43rd : Tucson, AZ : May 28-June 2, 2013)
URI: http://aphasiology.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2475

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