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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Newsletter Vol. 8 May/June 2007

aphasiatoolbox.com
Newsletter Vol. 8 
May/June 2007
Aphasiatoolbox.com is officially launched. Visit us.
It has been an exciting three years from vision to launch, and this month sees the public launch of www.aphasiatoolbox.com.  We are very excited to bring to the aphasia population the protocols and materials developed by Bill Connors that he has successfully used in the treatment of hundreds of aphasia patients.  We have produced 28 demonstration videos that show how to easily and effectively begin to use the protocols and materials.  We offer other assistance and products to aphasia patients, their caregivers, and speech/language pathologists on our website.  Ours is a dynamic website that will be constantly updated with new protocols, materials, demo videos, treatment information, research reviews, support group and computer club news, etc. We have some exciting plans for the future – but in large measure the future is now and available at http://www.aphasiatoolbox.com/.  To top it all off, this is all available at a very affordable price.

But back to our newsletter theme of selecting the right tool for the job, one of the sections of our website that we are most excited about is our Self-Help Guide.  You may access this guide with a click of your computer mouse on our Home Page.  This extensive document will assist you in readily targeting the specific speech, listening, reading, writing or memory problem and selecting the appropriate treatment tool(s) available in our aphasiatoolbox.  Whether you use these smart tools with your speech/language pathologist as part of your therapy program or as part of a self-help approach, affordable cutting edge support is now at your fingertips.

This is our dream.  This is our vision.  This is now a reality for our aphasia community traveling the pathway of aphasia recovery.
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Description of Simply Smart Aphasia Therapy (SSAT)
We have presented many aspects of Simply Smart Aphasia Therapy in our first seven newsletters.  All of them are essential for successful aphasia treatment, but perhaps none more so than the protocols and materials that Bill Connors has developed over his 30+ years of work in this field.  But it goes beyond that to include the successful implementation of these protocols and materials.

To return to our quote of the month analogy, Bill’s experience has shown that effective aphasia treatment requires a wide variety of tools.  This is true first because each person has a unique personality and therefore responds in a unique way to his or her impairment. Second because aphasia affects so many different parts of the communication process. Third because as each person with aphasia makes progress in recovery, his or her  treatment program needs to be adaptable to his or her growth.  For these reasons, Bill has taped demonstration videos to accompany the protocols and materials.  Bill’s videos serve as your self-help instruction manual.  We provide the product and the instruction on its use.  The rest is up to you.
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Free SSAT Treatment Protocol Sample
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This protocol description is part of the Simply Smart Aphasia Therapy program.
To learn how to make optimal use of any protocol,  www.aphasiatoolbox.com

Protocol – Self-help exercise guideline:  Sentence Patterning – 1.8

This protocol is often a nice starting point when beginning to use our approach.  The instructions are brief and the video clearly explains how to get started.  Our experience has shown that most patients can begin to respond in short sentences quickly.  Early success can be very encouraging.  This protocol incorporates several important concepts and approaches to aphasia treatment and self-help:  

1.      Working in sentences – It is apparent to us that for patients to regain conversational speech they need to be able to talk in sentences.    http://jslhr.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/43/1/5
2.      Turn-taking – It is important that the conversational skills of a person with aphasia improve and taking turns assists in re-establishing the flow between speaking partners.  Again, it is important to work within a new normal conversational framework as often or as quickly as possible. One of the most frustrating consequences of aphasia is a person’s inability to take turns in a conversation.  http://aac.unl.edu/drb/aphand.htm
3.      Encourage propositional not imitative speech - The patient responds in sentences during this exercise to a question which means the verbal exchange more closely resembles actual conversation than does imitation or cueing.
4.      Initial focus on verbs – Retrieving, processing and saying verbs, (action words) is often a significant problem for people with aphasia.  Skills in verb usage are critical for sentence production.  Struggle with verb usage can in turn cause difficulty with mental resource allocation.  http://ajslp.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/4/4/143
5.      Rhythm - Be sure to keep a flow of responses going with the patient so that a natural conversational rhythm occurs. http://convention.asha.org/2005/handouts/293_Dressler_Richard_071192_112105121549.ppt#256,1,
Rhythmic Patterns During Conversational Repairs in Speakers with aphasia
6.      Massed, differential practice – We know that massed (high number of repetitions, daily practice) practice is essential to ensure optimal aphasia recovery  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/506239    We add the caution that the practice should be differentiated (many different types of responses)  It is important to avoid imitation, repetition and limited types of responses.
 
Use the Sentence Patterning practice materials and basic demonstration video with this protocol.  These are available as a free sample at www.aphasiatoolbox.com.

Easy Step-By-Step Directions:

  1. Establish eye contact with the patient.  Explain that you will ask him/her a question and that he/she is to answer by saying a sentence.
  1. Say in a clear voice a question using the stimulus questions. (“Do you eat?”)
  1. The patient pauses in order to hold the phrase in working memory and then answers the questions using information/words from the question.  (“Yes I eat.”)
  1. Make sure that the patient works from his/her memory and does not imitate.  Do not allow him/her to move lips while you say the phrase.
  1. Proceed with 1 and 2 above with all other question stimuli in the subcategory list (e.g., Subject-Verb – Do you eat?; Do you walk?; Do you read? etc.)

ü      How to make this activity a little easier:  Rehearse the sentences first, or mouth or say the first word (subject of the sentence) aloud to the patient. (‘yes’)

ü      How to make this activity a little harder: Advance to harder sentence lists.  (‘Do you like coffee?; Do you want coffee or tea’)

ü      How to expand this activity:  Ask the patient to write the sentence from memory.  (YES, I EAT)

ü      How to get extra practice for this activity:  Use the 3–word sentence list or conjugation list on our exclusive Aphasia Sight Reader Software Program, available to subscribers of aphasiatoolbbox.com.
 
Horizontal Tweaking for this protocol – exercise activity:  impose delay in patient response that gradually increases; adjust for individual patient issues (perseveration; initiation); drill in cumulative cyclical manner. 

Vertical Stepping for this protocol – exercise activity: advance through sentence pattern types from less to more difficult for the individual patient; require patient to choose from two stimuli; vary tense; vary subject (e.g., Does Bob eat?).

Behavioral Objective for this protocol – exercise activity:  The patient will self-generate verbally (say aloud) a fluently produced sentence given a question by the caregiver/therapy assistant/speech therapist from memory using the Sentence Patterning practice materials and the Sentence Patterning demonstration videos from aphasiatoolbox.com.  This list is organized to account for several stimulus development considerations including grammatical complexity [easy to hard]; length and phonological complexity [number of sounds and syllables]; and pragmatics [potential use in conversation].  The list should be tailored to names, items, and places relevant to the patient’s life. 

Targeted Mental Processes for this protocol – exercise activity:  Lexeme activation; lexical to semantic area interaction; task focus to task shift; verbal working memory; turn taking; truly listening; anchoring; sentence generation; complexity training;
 
This protocol is part of the Simply Smart Aphasia Therapy program.

To learn how to make optimal use of this protocol, visit www.aphasiatoolbox.com   

Copyright © 2005-2007 William A. Connors, M.A., C.C.C. 
All rights reserved.
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Quote of the Month
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“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”  Abraham Maslow, famous American psychologist who developed the hierarchy of human needs.

Our quote this month, the month when we publicly launch our website www.aphasiatoolbox.com, is to the point.  You need to fit the tool to the task or you will never properly accomplish your task. Too may caregivers and patients have wasted time with busy work or activities that encouraged imitation or excessive external cueing.  In terms of treating aphasia, both the overall strategy and the specific tools used need to be fitted to the specific aphasia problem.  When the commitment to improve is made on the part of both the aphasia patient and caregiver (join the aphasiatoolbox.com community of subscribers); when the problem has been properly defined and the correct treatment tool selected (use the free Self-Help Guide on the website); and when the treatment is followed in a disciplined, daily manner (use your self-help tools found on aphasiatoolbox.com daily) – then you will experience progress over time.  We turn aphasia research and science into tools that are easily understood and can be used by anyone.

Are you prepared to use innovative tools to create the optimal program for yourself?
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Tip of the Month
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Our tip of the month revolves around selecting the proper tool for the job.

As we all know, in any human endeavor our success is determined in part by analyzing the problem, defining the problem, setting a goal that will be an achievable outcome, choosing the right tool to accomplish your goal, and dedicating yourself to working in a disciplined manner each day to reach your goal.  Every one of these elements is included in a well-planned approach. While there are no guarantees, it is certain that without proper planning and dedication people rarely achieve their goal.

With this in mind, we have built www.aphasiatoolbox.com in order to assist in problem analysis, problem definition, and providing the tools for the job.  While the end goal is to achieve a New Normal Level of Communication, the path of aphasia recovery that leads to this end goal is made up of hundreds of small, daily or weekly goals.  If you focus on these small goals one-at-a-time and dedicate yourself to a disciplined daily approach to treatment, we are confident that the tools available on our website will supportively lead you down the pathway of aphasia recovery.
 
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Bill Connors' Scheduled Public Events
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June 8 and 9, 2007:  Bill will be at the New Jersey Aphasia Conference sponsored by Kean University and available for support group meetings in Northern New Jersey.  Contact us at information@aphasiatoolbox.com for information on how to meet with Bill to discuss setting up a self-help group or aphasia information technology club in your community.

June 13, 2007:  Bill will be in the Harrisburg, PA area and will be available to meet to discuss setting up a self-help group or aphasia information technology club in your community.

July 11 and 12, 2007:  Bill will be meeting with patients in the Washington, D.C. area and will be available to meet to discuss setting up a self-help group or aphasia information technology club in your community.

August 15, 2007:  Bill will be in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will be available to meet to discuss setting up a self-help group or aphasia information technology club in your community.

August 17 and 18, 2007:  Bill will present at The Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa’s 2nd Stroke Recovery Conference at the Hampton Inn Conference Center in
Ottawa (www.strokeconference.ca).  The conference highlights best practice and management of stroke in the community by featuring talks by leading researchers and therapists as part of the ongoing effort to empower people with stroke and their families to manage better.
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We Want To Hear From You
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A feature of our newsletter from time-to-time is Support Group of the Month.  To nominate a support group for our “Support Group of the Month,” simply send us the name of the group, some background information, and contact information to information@aphasiatoolbox.com.

We select a Patient of the Month from among the members of our Support Group of the Month.  To nominate a Patient of the Month, simply send the information to information@aphasiatoolbox.com.

If you know of someone who would like to receive our newsletter, you or they can send us the correct contact information with the word “subscribe” to information@aphasiatoolbox.com.
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Copyright 2005-2007 Aphasia Center of Innovative Treatment, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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© 2007 Aphasia Center of Innovative Treatmen
Newsletter Vol. 8 May/June 2007SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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