Rehabilitation of sentence comprehension deficits

Many aphasic patients have difficulties with the use of syntax to decode messages. Most patients do not have specific deficits affecting syntactic operations or parsing/interpretive operations (Caplan & Waters, 2006; Caplan et al, 2006, 2007; Dede & Caplan, 2006). This view of syntactic comprehension deficits is more optimistic about generalization of successful training from one structure to another. Therefore, if therapy impacts the ability to utilize resources to subserve syntactic comprehension, successful training might generalize to all structures or to structures that require the same or fewer resources. We have developed two new treatments, one based on sentence to picture matching (SPM) and the other based on object manipulation (OM), that train patients on the relationship between syntactic structure and the meanings of sentences.

Here is the paper that describes the results from the treatment study involving 16 patients. We also developed a test of discourse comprehension that is syntactically constrained.