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Aphasia and Computerised Writing Aid Supported Treatment.

Paper i proceeding
Författare Ingrid Behrns
Asa Wengelin
Lena Hartelius
Publicerad i EARLI/SIG Writing Conference in Amsterdam, 25-29 August, 2009
Publiceringsår 2009
Publicerad vid Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi, sektionen för klinisk neurovetenskap och rehabilitering
Språk en
Ämnesord Aphasia, keystroke logging, writing process, writing aid, edits
Ämneskategorier Logopedi och foniatrik


Aim. Individuals with aphasia often experience difficulties with written language. Word processors with a spell checker and a grammar checker can compensate for some of the writing difficulties associated with aphasia. The aim of the present study was to determine if writing difficulties associated with aphasia may be reduced by the use of a computerised writing aid. Methodology. The writing aid used in this study was a spell checker originally designed specifically for persons with developmental reading and writing difficulties and were based on statistics of frequent misspellings and phonotactic rules. Further, the spell checker presents the suggested word in a sentence to explain the meaning of the word for the user. One 56 year old woman with aphasia and severe writing difficulties following stroke four years earlier, took part in the study. The writing training was initially individually with a speech-language-pathologist (SLT), but after four sessions she took part in a writing group with four other persons with aphasia. The training was twice every week for nine weeks, where the participants learned how to use the writing aid. Written production at the start of the intervention, during treatment and at follow up was recorded and analysed by key stroke logging. Recordings were made when she wrote and used the spell checker but also when she did not use the aid.The study had a single subject AB design with a follow up. The baseline (A) was established by measuring four dependent variables. During a nine-week intervention phase (B) the dependent variables were measured once a week. A follow-up (A) was done 10 months after the training was finished. The dependent variables were: total number of words in a writing task; proportion of correctly written words; words per minute; proportion of successful edits. The results were analysed both visually and by statistical calculations.The intervention was also evaluated by questioning the participant and her husband about her writing ability and writing habits. Findings. The woman experienced a positive improvement in her writing ability and found the training very motivational. Results showed that after completed intervention, she wrote more words, had a larger proportion of correctly written words and made more successful edits. Results showed further that her writing ability had improved, also when the aid was not used. There was also an improved sentence structure, even if this had not been specifically trained. Before the intervention the participant had no functional writing, but after the training she had started to do cross word puzzles on her own and she also wrote memos for shopping lists. Theoretical and educational significance of the research. This study showed that the computerised training facilitated the generating process and made the revision process more efficient for the participant. The improvements were found in the written production when she used the aid, but also without the aid, which means that systematic writing training resulted in a general improvement of writing skills even though writing was still very time consuming and hard work. She had also started to use her improved writing ability outside the clinical setting in everyday life. The results are important in that they indicate possible ways of designing writing treatment by the use of a word processor and computerised writing aids. However, the results also show the need for careful analyses when evaluating different treatment strategies and in discussing what improved writing ability may be.

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