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Semantic Feature Analysis Treatment for Individuals with Aphasia

presented by Mary Boyle

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Word-retrieval impairment is a pervasive and frustrating problem for the 2.7 million Americans with aphasia. Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) treatment, which aims to improve the word retrieval process in single words and discourse, has been replicated by different research teams and in different languages around the world. This course reviews the theory behind the treatment, the treatment protocol, and the outcomes that have been reported. Videotapes showing people with aphasia participating in SFA are used to demonstrate the method.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Mary Boyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, ASHA Fellow

    Mary Boyle, PhD., CCC-SLP is a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist and Professor/Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University. Dr. Boyle received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Northwestern University and her B.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is Board Certified by the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences. Before joining the faculty at Montclair State University, she was Director of the Speech, Language, & Audiology Department at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, NY. Her career encompasses more than 30 years of working with adults with aphasia in a variety of medical, home-care, and university-based settings. Dr. Boyle directs the Aphasia Research Lab at Montclair State University. This lab investigates all aspects of aphasia, with an emphasis on: 1) developing and testing treatments for word retrieval problems in aphasia at single-word and connected speech levels, 2) developing and testing outcome measures of word retrieval treatment in connected speech, and 3) developing and testing clinician-friendly discourse outcome measures. With funding from the Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute and Montclair State University, Dr. Boyle completed the first studies to apply Semantic Feature Analysis treatment to people with aphasia. These projects demonstrated the efficacy of that treatment, and their results have since been replicated by independent research labs around the world. Dr. Boyle has also been among the first to assess outcomes of word retrieval treatment in connected speech. Results of her research have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Boyle’s research has always been clinically focused. Her goal with this course is to share clinically relevant information, and she welcomes questions and comments via email.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

Download Learning Objectives
  1. SFA Treatment: Background and Goals

    1. SFA Treatment: Background and Goals

    This section reviews the theoretical and clinical background of SFA treatment. This information provides the framework and principles of SFA treatment. Familiarity with this information will allow clinicians to use and adapt SFA treatment in meaningful ways for their clients.

  2. SFA for Object Confrontation Naming (C-SFA): Treatment Protocols

    2. SFA for Object Confrontation Naming (C-SFA): Treatment Protocols

    This section outlines the treatment protocol used for SFA at a confrontation-naming level. It covers the rationale for the steps and connects them to what we know about successful word retrieval processing. Discussion includes why parts of the protocol were done in a specific way for research studies and how they have been adopted in clinical settings.

  3. SFA for Noun Retrieval in Discourse (D-SFA)

    3. SFA for Noun Retrieval in Discourse (D-SFA)

    This section outlines a treatment protocol used for D-SFA. It covers the rationale for the steps and for differences from C-SFA. Discussion includes why parts of the protocol were done in a specific way for research studies and how they have been adopted in clinical settings.

  4. Assessment and Outcome Measures

    4. Assessment and Outcome Measures

    This section reviews assessment methods for word retrieval in single words and in discourse. Clinicians need to assess the extent of the problem before starting treatment so that they can measure change related to their treatment. Measures used in research and those that are more clinician and aphasia-friendly are reviewed.

  5. The Evidence for SFA

    5. The Evidence for SFA

    This section reviews the evidence reported by different groups of researchers in different languages, sometimes with modifications to the protocols. The evidence shows that naming of treated items improves and suggests that generalization to untreated items seems to depend on aspects of the treatment protocol. The evidence also shows that discourse production improves, but that not all participants experience the same changes. This information is important for clinicians who want their practice to be evidence-based.