The cue is a clue - of any kind - that can be given to the person with aphasia to facilitate the production of a word. The goal, of course, is to reduce both the frequency and the "quantity" of this help over time, with the hope that the person will be able to produce the word in total autonomy.

Examples of cues are:

  • Suggest the first syllable
  • Write the word
  • Write, say or mime the first letter
  • Have the initial letter written in the air or on a table with your fingers

In a previous article we talked about a study [1] that compared the type of cue (phonological or semantic used), arriving at the conclusion that, in general, there are not many differences in terms of effectiveness; on an individual level, however, some individuals prefer a suggestion of a phonological type over semantic characteristics, or vice versa.

In a more recent study [2] Wei Ping and colleagues tried to identify the most effective strategies for stimulating word naming. Aside from some factors already known such as the duration and intensity of treatment, the research team highlighted the central role of the written cue which seems to be effective even through the simple presentation of the word, without the need to copy it.

The reasons for a possible greater effectiveness of the written cues are summarized as follows by the authors:

  1. The written form is permanent and does not decay over time (unlike oral cues)
  2. It favors silent reading and, consequently, phonological recoding
  3. Activate the motor memory enveloped in writing, thus triggering a further path for the recovery of the word [our translation]


[1] Neumann Y. A case series comparison of semantically focused vs. phonologically focused cued naming treatment in aphasia. Clin Linguist Phon. 2018; 32 (1): 1-27

[2] Wei Ping SZE, Solène HAMEAU, Jane WARREN & Wendy BEST (2021) Identifying the components of a successful spoken naming therapy: a meta-analysis of word-finding interventions for adults with aphasia, Aphasiology, 35: 1, 33-72

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