Sabrina Azad | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Name: Sabrina Azad
Title: Speech-Language Therapy and Neurodegeneration: An Investigation of Speech-Language Pathologists’ Perceptions of Maintenance-Based Semantic Feature Analysis Treatment for Adults with Primary Progressive Aphasia
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minor: Education
Advisor: Joan E. Furey; Cara Hammond (second reader)

The broad purpose of this study was to explore speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) perceptions of using semantic feature analysis (SFA) to enhance or maintain semantic skills in adults with primary progressive aphasia (PPA). More specifically, this study investigated SLPs’ familiarity with SFA and maintenance-focused treatment, their clinical considerations and therapeutic approaches when using SFA to treat adults with PPA, and their experience using SFA in maintenance-focused treatment. This investigation discussed how the traditional SFA protocol can be adapted to best address PPA. By extending limited research into clinicians’ use of maintenance approaches and SFA to treat individuals with PPA, this study contributes to the body of professional literature on person-specific and treatment-related variables that inform clinical decision making and influence treatment outcomes for the patient population. I used quantitative survey research, along with selected qualitative probes, to explore SLPs’ experiences. One major conclusion was that SLPs had considerable experience implementing maintenance therapy for individuals with PPA, and perceptions of this approach were relatively positive. However, substitutive treatments offer unique benefits that may make this approach particularly advantageous. In addition, there were several differences between how SLPs reported they implement SFA and how SFA treatment is documented in the literature. This study has implications into using maintenance approaches and SFA to treat individuals with PPA, and it reveals opportunities for future research.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 22, 2024.