Audit in the therapy professions: some constraints on progress.
AIMS: To ascertain views about constraints on the progress of audit experienced by members of four of the therapy professions: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and clinical psychology. METHODS: Interviews in six health service sites with a history of audit in these professions. 62 interviews were held with members of the four professions and 60 with other personnel with relevant involvement. Five main themes emerged as the constraints on progress: resources; expertise; relations between groups; organisational structures; and overall planning of audit activities. RESULTS: Concerns about resources focused on lack of time, insufficient finance, and lack of access to appropriate systems of information technology. Insufficient expertise was identified as a major constraint on progress. Guidance on designing instruments for collection of data was the main concern, but help with writing proposals, specifying and keeping to objectives, analysing data, and writing reports was also required. Although sources of guidance were sometimes available, more commonly this was not the case. Several aspects of relations between groups were reported as constraining the progress of audit. These included support and commitment, choice of audit topics, conflicts between staff, willingness to participate and change practice, and concerns about confidentiality. Organisational structures which constrained audit included weak links between heads of professional services and managers of provider units, the inhibiting effect of change, the weakening of professional coherence when therapists were split across directorates, and the ethos of regarding audit findings as business secrets. Lack of an overall plan for audit meant that while some resources were available, others equally necessary for successful completion of projects were not. CONCLUSION: Members of four of the therapy professions identified a wide range of constraints on the progress of audit. If their commitment to audit is to be maintained these constraints require resolution. It is suggested that such expert advice, but also that these are directed towards the particular needs of the four professions. Moreover, a forum is required within which all those with a stake in therapy audit can acknowledge and resolve the different agendas which they may have in the enterprise. (+info)
Randomised controlled trial of community based speech and language therapy in preschool children.
OBJECTIVE: To compare routine speech and language therapy in preschool children with delayed speech and language against 12 months of "watchful waiting." DESIGN: Pragmatic randomised controlled trial. SETTING: 16 community clinics in Bristol. PARTICIPANTS: 159 preschool children with appreciable speech or language difficulties who fulfilled criteria for admission to speech and language therapy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Four quantitative measures of speech and language, assessed at 6 and 12 months; a binary variable indicating improvement, by 12 months, on the trial entry criterion. RESULTS: Improvement in auditory comprehension was significant in favour of therapy (adjusted difference in means 4.1, 95% confidence interval 0.5 to 7.6; P=0.025). No significant differences were observed for expressive language (1.4, -2.1 to 4.8; P=0.44); phonology error rate (-4.4, -12.0 to 3.3; P=0.26); language development (0.1, -0.4 to 0.6; P=0.73); or improvement on entry criterion (odds ratio 1.3, 0.67 to 2.4; P=0.46). At the end of the trial, 70% of all children still had substantial speech and language deficits. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides little evidence for the effectiveness of speech and language therapy compared with watchful waiting over 12 months. Providers of speech and language therapy should reconsider the appropriateness, timing, nature, and intensity of such therapy in preschool children. Continued research into more specific provision to subgroups of children is also needed to identify better treatment methods. The lack of resolution of difficulties for most of the children suggests that further research is needed to identify effective ways of helping this population of children. (+info)
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the use of amphetamine in the treatment of aphasia.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A number of studies suggest that drugs which increase the release of norepinephrine promote recovery when administered late (days to weeks) after brain injury in animals. A small number of clinical studies have investigated the effects of the noradrenergic agonist dextroamphetamine in patients recovering from motor deficits following stroke. To determine whether these findings extend to communication deficits subsequent to stroke, we administered dextroamphetamine, paired with speech/language therapy, to patients with aphasia. METHODS: In a prospective, double-blind study, 21 aphasic patients with an acute nonhemorrhagic infarction were randomly assigned to receive either 10 mg dextroamphetamine or a placebo. Patients were entered between days 16 and 45 after onset and were treated on a 3-day/4-day schedule for 10 sessions. Thirty minutes after drug/placebo administration, subjects received a 1-hour session of speech/language therapy. The Porch Index of Communicative Ability was used at baseline, at 1 week off the drug, and at 6 months after onset as the dependent language measure. RESULTS: Although there were no differences between the drug and placebo groups before treatment (P=0.807), by 1 week after the 10 drug treatments ended there was a significant difference in gain scores between the groups (P=0.0153), with the greater gain in the dextroamphetamine group. The difference was still significant when corrected for initial aphasia severity and age. At the 6-month follow-up, the difference in gain scores between the groups had increased; however, the difference was not significant (P=0.0482) after correction for multiple comparisons. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of dextroamphetamine paired with 10 1-hour sessions of speech/language therapy facilitated recovery from aphasia in a small group of patients in the subacute period after stroke. Neuromodulation with dextroamphetamine, and perhaps other drugs that increase central nervous system noradrenaline levels, may facilitate recovery when paired with focused behavioral treatment. (+info)
Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: evidence from functional MRI.
Developmental dyslexia, characterized by unexplained difficulty in reading, is associated with behavioral deficits in phonological processing. Functional neuroimaging studies have shown a deficit in the neural mechanisms underlying phonological processing in children and adults with dyslexia. The present study examined whether behavioral remediation ameliorates these dysfunctional neural mechanisms in children with dyslexia. Functional MRI was performed on 20 children with dyslexia (8-12 years old) during phonological processing before and after a remediation program focused on auditory processing and oral language training. Behaviorally, training improved oral language and reading performance. Physiologically, children with dyslexia showed increased activity in multiple brain areas. Increases occurred in left temporo-parietal cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus, bringing brain activation in these regions closer to that seen in normal-reading children. Increased activity was observed also in right-hemisphere frontal and temporal regions and in the anterior cingulate gyrus. Children with dyslexia showed a correlation between the magnitude of increased activation in left temporo-parietal cortex and improvement in oral language ability. These results suggest that a partial remediation of language-processing deficits, resulting in improved reading, ameliorates disrupted function in brain regions associated with phonological processing and produces additional compensatory activation in other brain regions. (+info)
The role of specific consequences in the maintenance of three types of questions.
This research replicated and extended a study by Williams, Donley, and Keller (2000). In that study, children with autism received a box with an object inside and learned to ask "What's that?," "Can I see it?," and "Can I have it?" to have the name of the object, to see the object, and to get the object, respectively. The purpose of the present research was to determine if the three questions (a) were three independent repertoires of behavior, (b) constituted three instances of a single functional response class, or (c) belonged to a chain of behavior. The 3 boys with autism who participated responded independently to each question when the consequences for each question were altered. This indicates that the three target responses were three independent repertoires of behavior, each one reinforced and maintained with its specific consequences. Thus, this procedure serves to teach children with autism to ask questions with flexibility according to a variable context. (+info)
Effects of semantic treatment on verbal communication and linguistic processing in aphasia after stroke: a randomized controlled trial.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Semantic deficits, deficits in word meaning, have a large impact on aphasic patients' verbal communication. We investigated the effects of semantic treatment on verbal communication in a randomized controlled trial. METHODS: Fifty-eight patients with a combined semantic and phonological deficit were randomized to receive either semantic treatment or the control treatment focused on word sound (phonology). Fifty-five patients completed pretreatment and posttreatment assessment of verbal communication (Amsterdam Nijmegen Everyday Language Test [ANELT]). In an on-treatment analysis (n=46), treatment-specific effects on semantic and phonological measures were explored. RESULTS: Both groups improved on the ANELT, with no difference between groups in overall score (difference, -1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], -5.3 to 3.1). After semantic treatment, patients improved on a semantic measure (mean improvement, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.6), whereas after phonological treatment, patients improved on phonological measures (mean improvement, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.7, and 3.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.7). CONCLUSIONS: No differences in primary outcome were noted between the 2 treatments. Our findings challenge the current notion that semantic treatment is more effective than phonological treatment for patients with a combined semantic and phonological deficit. The selective gains on the semantic and phonological measures suggest that improved verbal communication was achieved in a different way for each treatment group. (+info)
Intensive language training enhances brain plasticity in chronic aphasia.
BACKGROUND: Focal clusters of slow wave activity in the delta frequency range (1-4 Hz), as measured by magnetencephalography (MEG), are usually located in the vicinity of structural damage in the brain. Such oscillations are usually considered pathological and indicative of areas incapable of normal functioning owing to deafferentation from relevant input sources. In the present study we investigated the change in Delta Dipole Density in 28 patients with chronic aphasia (>12 months post onset) following cerebrovascular stroke of the left hemisphere before and after intensive speech and language therapy (3 hours/day over 2 weeks). RESULTS: Neuropsychologically assessed language functions improved significantly after training. Perilesional delta activity decreased after therapy in 16 of the 28 patients, while an increase was evident in 12 patients. The magnitude of change of delta activity in these areas correlated with the amount of change in language functions as measured by standardized language tests. CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize the significance of perilesional areas in the rehabilitation of aphasia even years after the stroke, and might reflect reorganisation of the language network that provides the basis for improved language functions after intensive training. (+info)
Effectiveness of computerised rehabilitation for long-term aphasia: a case series study.
Seven participants with long-standing aphasia following cerebrovascular accident were serially recruited to a case series study where language therapy was delivered at home and monitored via the Internet. All participants improved in word finding, and four improved in general communication. (+info)