Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Jean K. Gordon


In order to verbally communicate successfully, people need the ability to retrieve a desired word. However, the inability to do this, called “anomia,” is a common impairment for people with aphasia, and frequently persists into the chronic stage of recovery. Strategies that facilitate verbal expression may reduce or compensate for instances of anomia. Verbal strategies, such as Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) have been researched extensively and shown to be effective. Nonverbal strategies, such as drawing and gesture, have research on their effects as a substitution for verbalization, but less on their facilitative effects. However, the research suggests they may work in a similar manner to verbal approaches, by activating semantic networks. Thus, the facilitative effects of nonverbal strategies should be explored further. The aim of this experiment was to determine the facilitative effects of drawing and gesturing during a picture naming task in one participant with chronic aphasia. Results revealed that all conditions evaluated, drawing, gesture, and wait (control), produced improvements in the picture naming task. However, contrary to expectations, the facilitated conditions (i.e. drawing and gesture) did not create more effects than the unfacilitated condition (i.e. wait). This finding may indicate the benefits of a factor common to all conditions. Further results of this study and directions for future research are discussed.

Public Abstract

The inability to retrieve words while talking, referred to as “anomia”, is a common impairment in individuals with aphasia, a language impairment resulting from a stroke. Even when other language deficits resolve, anomia often persists. When anomia occurs frequently, it significantly impairs a person’s ability to efficiently and effectively communicate his or her basic wants and needs, as well as independently participate in social activities. Research is needed to identify effective ways to reduce instances of anomia and thus increase a person’s ability to communicate successfully. It has been suggested that drawing may increase a person’s ability to retrieve a desired word, thus decreasing anomia. In this study, a participant with aphasia drew or gestured a picture that he was originally unable to name. Researchers assessed whether drawing and/or gesturing improved his ability to retrieve the name of the picture, when compared to a wait (i.e. control) condition. Contrary to expectations, results indicated that drawing and gesture did not create more improvements on the picture naming task than the wait condition. More specific results and potential ways to further this area of research are discussed.




vii, 41 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-41).


Copyright 2015 Morgan Elaine Enright