This is perhaps the most famous image among those used for language assessment in aphasia. Introduced in the Boston Diagnostic Ahpasia Examination (BDAE) in 1972, the image shows a woman washing dishes while her two children, on a precariously balanced stool, they try to steal the cookies from a jar:

The patient must narrate the scene as completely and accurately as possible. The speech therapist will analyze the production using typical narrative analysis tools such as those discussed in this article. This version was also used for an Italian study by Marini and colleagues [1] which highlighted significant differences between healthy subjects and subjects with aphasia in the number of words produced, in the speed of speech, in the average length of the utterance and in the number and quality of errors.

A new study by Berube and colleagues [2] proposes an updated version of the classic image, with a small but significant novelty: this time we have a fair division of household chores with the husband washing the dishes and the wife mowing the lawn. Always outside the window, the image becomes more defined with two buildings, a cat and three birds. For this new image, the group of Berube and colleagues found significant differences in Content Units, Syllables per Content Units and Relationships between Content Units on the left and right side of the image (this may indicate neglect).

You can find the updated image in the article, available here:


[1] Marini, A., Andreetta, S., del Tin, S., & Carlomagno, S. (2011). A multi-level approach to the analysis of narrative language in aphasia. Aphasiology25

[2] Berube S, Nonnemacher J, Demsky C, Glenn S, Saxena S, Wright A, Tippett DC, Hillis AE. Stealing Cookies in the Twenty-First Century: Measures of Spoken Narrative in Healthy Versus Speakers With Aphasia. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2019 Mar 11; 28 (1S): 321-329.

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