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Aphasia and Computerised Writing Aid

Authors Ingrid Behrns
Asa Wengelin
Lena Hartelius
Published in SIG writing, the 11th international conference of the EARLI Special Interest Group on Writing, Lund, 2008
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords Aphasia, writing, single-subject-design, intervention
Subject categories Surgery, Logopedics and phoniatrics


Individuals with aphasia often experience difficulties writing, but the type and severity of impairment varies. Word-processors with spelling and grammar control can compensate for some of the writing difficulties associated with aphasia. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether writing difficulties in aphasia may be reduced by computerised writing aid supported training. The writing aids used in this study were designed especially for persons with reading- and writing difficulties (but so far not used for individuals with spelling difficulties following aphasia) They are based on statistics of frequent misspellings and fonotactic rules. The chosen programs were a word prediction program, Saida® and a program for spelling support, Stava Rätt 3®. The participants used Microsoft Word, 2003 and the selected writing aid. All writing sessions during treatment and evaluation were recorded by means of Scriptplog, a software for key stroke logging (Strömquist & Karlsson 2002). The study has a single subject ABA design replicated across three participants. The baseline (A) was established by measuring the dependent variables on four occasions prior to the introduction of the therapy. During the intervention phase (B) the dependent variables were measured on nine occasions. A follow-up (A) was made 10 months after the intervention phase was finished and included measurement of all dependent variables. The dependent variables were total number of words in the final text; proportion of correctly written words (a word may have been correctly spelled but still analysed as incorrect if it was the wrong word according to the context); words per minute, analysed as words total in final text per minute (of total time); proportion of edits that were successful, resulting in a correct written word. Results showed that the training affected the participants’ writing processes in positive ways. However it took time and effort to learn how to use the writing aids. The largest effect size was found for revisions, in how successful the participants were in making edits that resulted in correctly written words in the final texts. Moreover, the participants produced more words in total and produced proportionally more correctly written words. Production rate was less affected or even negatively affected. Interestingly, the participants also tended to improve their sentence structure and word order during intervention, despite the case that this had not been specifically trained.

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