Our aim is to improve language. We also need to figure out who will be a good candidate for this type of language therapy. Our first step is to get a handle on what the current level of language and brain functioning. In treatment research, these are called baseline measures.
When you enroll in the study, we take a very clear picture of your brain using MRI. It might look something like the brain on the right. At around the same time, we also do some standardized testing. Our tests examine naming, picture recognition, memory, and attention. We also use a technique called eyetracking to examine how your eyes move when looking at pictures.
Ok... we've taken a clear picture of your brain and now have a good handle on your language abilities. Next comes the good part. We visit your home and take pictures of all the items on your specific word list. Then we edit your photos (crop to size, blur any text), and create a picture book for you depicting your 100 items (105 to be exact) .
How the therapy works
Now it's time to start the treatment. We use modified versions of two therapy techniques called errorless learning and semantic feature analysis. We visit you at home and go through your word list with you and your significant other or caregiver. We use a matrix that looks like the picture below.
Semantic feature analysis: Working on 'keys'
We train each word using a series of semantic features. These are simply different bits and pieces of information about the object. We work through your word list in blocks of 5-items. For each target word, we tell you the name and five things about it. Then it's your turn. We give you the same block of 5 items and have you generate its name, its features. You will then use the word in a novel sentence.
People usually have many questions (e.g., what can I expect down the road?). We have put together a frequently asked questions page [click here to link]. You can also contact Jamie Reilly either by email or the old fashioned way at 215.204.3995.