The Participants’ Perspective: How People with Aphasia Describe Their Language Difficulties

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Abstract 1. Background: Research indicates that expressive language difficulties in aphasia mostly appear in the content, form, or use of language. This observation does not reflect the client’s perspective but, rather, studies’ findings in assessing aphasia. Research has also found that understanding a client’s perspective about their difficulties is important for practitioners and care providers. Understanding people with aphasia’s perspectives regarding their language difficulties is, therefore, important for care providers and researchers. 2. Aims: This study aims to explore individuals with aphasia’s perspectives regarding their language difficulties and to answer three specific questions: i. Which language component (content, use, or form) will people with aphasia report to be the most affected? ii. Which difficulty within each language component will people with aphasia report the most? iii. Will people with aphasia’s perspective be consistent with the literature’s findings concerning language difficulties in aphasia? 3. Methods and Procedures: This study employed qualitative methodology, entailing thematic analysis of recorded and transcribed, semi-structured interview data from AphasiaBank. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews took place between people with aphasia and speech language therapists. The data was manually analysed using thematic analysis. 4. Outcome and Results: The thematic analysis of participants’ perspectives on their language difficulties (including individuals with aphasia’s reports and individuals’ agreement with partners’ or investigators’ reported difficulties) produced three main themes: form (syntax), content (semantics), and use (pragmatics). 5. Conclusion and Implications: People with aphasia most often described their language difficulties as a deficit in language content (semantics), such as difficulty finding words, and secondly as a deficit in language form (pragmatics), such as speaking in short sentences, with minimal experience of language form deficit (syntax) and no reports of morphology or phonology problems.