Time Distribution of Computer-Based Script Training in Aphasia
Leora Cherney, PhD
A growing body of evidence suggests that intensity of therapy is a critical factor influencing outcomes in aphasia treatment regardless of the treatment approaches; yet the optimum dose of treatment has not been established for any treatment approach. Without empirical evidence supporting amount and distribution/frequency of treatment, researchers and clinicians typically make choices based on convenience. The purpose of this project is to conduct a series of intervention studies to examine the rate and extent to which persons with aphasia learn and subsequently forget, following one or more treatment sessions.
We will use AphasiaScripts as our treatment approach. AphasiaScripts uses an anthropomorphically accurate “digital” therapist in a highly controlled computer environment. The digital therapist is capable of visually modeling speech and interactively guiding treatment, thereby ensuring treatment independence and fidelity by removing clinician-related variables that potentially influence treatment outcomes.
Phase 1 consists of two parts. Part 1 focuses on a single treatment session to track the learning and forgetting curve over minutes, hours, and days. Part 2 will examine how acquisition can be optimized and forgetting minimized by the addition of second and third sessions at various time points along the forgetting curve. Development in Phase 1 will include methods to facilitate the collection of patient performance data regarding accuracy and rate of script production, and mathematical modeling to develop algorithms to predict best outcomes based on treatment schedules. In Phase 2, we will explore how clinicians utilize the algorithms developed in Phase 1 together with patient performance data generated from each session to make clinical decisions about the timing of subsequent sessions.