Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Health Sciences

First Advisor

Gordon Pershey, Monica

Subject Headings

Aphasia -- Age factors, Speech disorders, Aphasia -- Case studies, Speech therapy, Attention -- Testing, Speech -- Testing, speech therapy, aphasia, language, attention, multiple case study

Abstract

Researchers have questioned whether the occurrence of aphasia creates executive function deficiencies that result in cognitive-linguistic deficits. Aphasia is a breakdown in language comprehension and production caused by a focal lesion in the left hemisphere of the brain (Papathanasiou, Coppens, & Potagas, 2013). Executive function refers to a set of "higher order component functions required to control and coordinate performance on complex problem solving tasks" (Dick & Overton, 2010). Researchers have speculated that attention, an important part of executive function, may be compromised in addition to language deficits in persons with aphasia. The purpose of this exploratory multiple case comparison is to investigate the relationship between language and attention in persons with aphasia by comparing measures of attention that rely on language comprehension and use against measures of attentions that are independent of language comprehension and use.The study investigated eight participants between the ages 57 and 79 who have experienced a lesion in the left hemisphere of the brain resulting in nonfluent aphasia. Each participant completed subtests from the following assessments in order to measure language and attention: Western Aphasia Battery Bedside Screener-Revised, Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test, The Test of Everyday Attention, and the Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised. Attention was affected to varying degrees in some participants with nonfluent aphasia. The degree to which attention was affected was not consistently related to the severity of aphasia.This study concludes by describing each participant's performance in detail and providing clinical implications for diagnosis and treatment

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