Communication is the transmission of information from one individual to another through a shared code, be it verbal, gestural or symbolic. Anomy is the most frequent manifestation ofaphasia. It is, in a simple way, the difficulty of find the right word quickly.

It is estimated that out of three people who have suffered cerebrovascular damage, one is aphasic. The prognosis of the anomia depends on two factors:

  • The extent of the damage
  • The impact of speech therapy

Much research has already shown the efficacy of speech therapy in the treatment of post-stroke anomia. Tuttavia, intensive and continuous speech therapy is not always available for economic and / or distance reasons (often, in fact, strokes also result in difficulty in moving, for which travel becomes more difficult).

In 2015, Zheng and colleagues [2] carried out a research on the efficacy of new technologies in post-stroke anomia, finding the superiority of therapy administered through the computer compared to a traditional treatment (the Verb network strengthening Treatment, or VNetSc). In addition, self-administered therapy through digital devices costs 30% less compared to the classic treatment. Many studies followed highlighting further advantages of the theory through computer tools, but some questions remained uncovered, for example:

  • None of these studies included the tablet as a tool for treating the anomia
  • No studies had investigated the effectiveness of specific intervention programs administered through all available technologies

A systematic review

In 2017, Lavoie and colleagues [1] published a systematic review on the use of new technologies in the treatment of anomie. 23 studies were selected from different databases (PubMed, Google scholar, PsycInfo and others). The methodology used was that of PRISMA Statement.

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The following outcomes were considered:

  1. Improvement in naming abilities i.e memorizing the names.
  2. The functional impact of the new therapy in daily communication

In some studies, technology was used as a therapy tool in a clinical setting, in the presence of the clinician, while in others, therapy with technology was self-administered at home, without the clinician.

The results

The following results are concluded by the authors:

  • Both self-administered and clinical therapy is effective in naming abilites
  • Self-administered treatment by computers or tablets improves the quality of communication of the patients as it raises their self-esteem to work independently on computers and allows them to choose when, where and for how long to practice therapy is another benefit of smart tablets.

Future resarches

Although this research concluded that technology is an efficient tool in the management of post-stroke anomia and provide an opportunity to patients to be independent improves the rehabilitation therapy, yet there are some limitations i.e.

  • small prints
  • complex languages on the devices

These two factors can, unfortunately, limit the use in autonomy and increase the patient's frustration.

Future perspectives

The data, however, are encouraging and push towards the inclusion of therapies administered through digital devices in the guidelines and indications of good clinical practice. However, further studies will be needed, in particular controlled and randomized trials, with follow-up beyond six months. Furthermore, it is hoped that the studies will also be extended to other manifestations of aphasia such as the difficulties of understanding and morphosyntactic production.

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Our materials for aphasia

All our apps can be used for free online. To use the web-apps even offline on your pc and to support our work is possible download aphasia KIT. This collection contains 5 web-apps (Write the word, Lexical comprehension, Naming of syllables, Recognize syllables and Table of syllables) to be used on a PC and more than a thousand pages of cards with activities to print, communication tables and various materials.

We have also created three large collections of activities on the PDF language divided by area:

For theoretical articles onaphasia you can visit our archive.

Antonio Milanese (SLP)
Speech therapist and computer programmer with a particular interest in learning. I made several apps and web-apps and taught courses on the relationship between speech therapy and new technologies.

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