Feature Matching is a great Constant Therapy task to help strengthen the connections in our brains. This post highlights why it’s so fantastic for improving naming abilities.
The Feature Matching task shows you a picture of something (say, a pigeon) and asks you a yes/no question about whether a semantic feature of the word applies (such as, “Can it fly?”). Semantic features are characteristics associated with a word’s meaning, and by reinforcing someone’s knowledge of those features associated with a specific word, it becomes easier for the person to find the word when they want it. Our Feature Matching task also has multiple levels – the harder levels include words that are less frequently occurring, thus upping the difficulty level for the user.
Now that explanation of why feature matching works is all well and good, but here comes the good stuff. Here are a few studies that prove that feature matching works!
- Hashimoto, N. and A. Frome, The use of a modified semantic features analysis approach in aphasia. Journal of Communication Disorders, 2011. 44(4): p. 459-69.
- The Big Picture: this research study examined how well Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) worked for a person who had aphasia and apraxia of speech. Usually SFA requires someone to verbally identify six features associated with an item; however for this study, the researchers wanted to see if a modified version would work. The person in the study was allowed to verbalize or write features, and she only had to come up with three features rather than six. After treatment, the person’s naming ability had improved! There was a follow-up testing session which showed a little decline in skills, but her naming scores were still above her pre-treatment scores.
- Kiran, S. and G. Bassetto, Evaluating the effectivness of semantic based treatment for naming deficits in aphasia: what works? Seminars in Speech and Language, 2008. 29(1): p. 71-82.
- The Big Picture: this article gives a great review of what semantic treatment is, why it works, and where research needs to focus in the future.
- Kiran, S. and C.K. Thompson, The role of semantic complexity in treatment of naming deficits: Training semantic categories in fluent aphasia by controlling exemplar typicality (vol 46, pg 608, 2003). Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 2003. 46(4): p. 773-787.
- The Big Picture: this study looked at the effects of working on naming with items that share common features. Participants in this study had fluent aphasia (meaning that they were able to produce flowing sentences rather than broken sentences, but were not necessarily using the right words in the right places). The study found that patients improved in their ability to name as measured by standardized tests of naming!
Looking for more articles on feature matching? Check out these two for further reading.
Rose, M. and J. Douglas, Treating a semantic word production deficit in aphasia with verbal and gesture methods. Aphasiology, 2008. 22(1): p. 20-41.
Stanczak, L., G. Waters, and D. Caplan, Typicality-based learning and generalisation in aphasia: Two case studies of anomia treatment. Aphasiology, 2006. 20(2-4): p. 374-383.