Type of Document Dissertation Author Johnson, Kimberly Ann URN etd-09012003-021411 Title Effects Of Sensory Cues On Quantity And Quality Of Utterances In Conversation Groups With Individuals With Dementia Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Communication Disorders, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Michelle Bourgeois Committee Chair Howard Goldstein Committee Member Linda Vinton Committee Member Keywords
- Memory Loss
Date of Defense 2003-06-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractIndividuals with dementia have language and memory deficits that interfere with their functional abilities, such as conversation skills. A Variety of treatments have been
developed to address these deficits during group conversation activities. Interventions that provide various sensory cues (e.g., visual, verbal, tactile) have been found to facilitate conversation groups. The current research attempted to evaluate the effects of auditory plus tactile and auditory plus written conditions on the conversational behavior of five persons with dementia in a group activity using an alternating treatment design. In a listening treatment condition (auditory plus tactile) participants listened to a story read by a staff facilitator while holding an object that was related to the story and answered questions about the story. In the reading treatment condition (auditory plus written), participants took turns reading aloud the story text and then took turns reading aloud questions about the story to elicit conversation.
The quantity and quality of utterances for the participants and the facilitator were scored from transcripts of the audiotaped sessions. The results revealed no treatment effects for the quantity and quality of utterances by the participants for either condition. The treatments were subsequently modified to reduce the length and complexity of the story stimuli. With the treatment modification, only one participant demonstrated a clear increase in quantity and quality of utterances after treatment was implemented.
Naïve judges’ ratings of seven conversational quality indicators corroborated the lack of treatment effects. Baseline sessions were judged to be more comfortable, more clear, having more novel information, more on-topic utterances, more equality of turns, more participant-led discussion, and more participant engagement than either treatment condition.
Factors related to the participant characteristics, the treatment protocol, and the
physical environment may have contributed to the lack of treatment effects in this study as compared to other more successful conversational interventions.
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