The Importance of Attention Skills  in
Aphasia Recovery 
Editor's Note - Sharon Rennhack:  
If you find this newsletter to provide important information and treatment/practice ideas, be sure to share with others on Facebook and in other social media communities. 
In the current edition, we  discuss the importance of attention skills in aphasia  recovery.

-  What is attention?
-  What is cognition?
-  How does  attention or inattention affect  the person with aphasia? 
-  How does aphasiatoolbox® exploit neuroplasticity by addressing attention and cognitive skills       in order to maximize recovery?

"Let's get this straight, once and for all.   The cognitive domains of language and memory/attention always work together in order to create speech and language.  Language and cognition are inseparable.  Each aphasia treatment program must address the interaction between them and exploit the synergies."  Bill Connors  

The current edition of the Seminars in Speech and Language Journal emphasizes just how critical it is to weave work on attention, working memory, executive functions, and other cognitive mental processes into aphasia treatment and practice.   The journal's articles explicitly explain how treatment materials, apps, worksheets or drills that address cognition should not be isolated experiences for the person with aphasia, but rather must be part of and intrinsically integrated into a robust language treatment experience.    The expert SLPs at aphasiatoolbox® carefully incorporate vigorous cognitive training into every individual aphasia treatment program which is one reason our clients maximizing their recoveries and conversing with others better everyday. Schedule a  consultation to discuss how this is done.  
- In the video/ Tip of the Month, Brooke Lang and Bill Connors discuss how clients can improve  their attention skills;  Brook  demonstrates  several aphasiatoolbox  tasks or exercises.
- We include information on recent research on attention and cognition.

For information  on how we can help your recovery using our aphasiatoolbox® program,  contact us at   OR click here  schedule a free consultation  and select a 30 minute phone call with our an aphasia recovery expert.
Aphasiatoolbox®:    We are  Aphasia Recovery.
 What is Attention?
What is attention?
Attention refers to the ability to focus, alternate, and shift mental attention.  Research evidence is clear that improving  attention - ie, the cognitive skills of a person with aphasia, is crucial in maximizing speech and language recovery. 

What is the relationship between attention and cognition?
Attention and cognition are inter-related  - that is, they work together to perform certain tasks especially in the language domain. 
> Attention is the ability to concentrate while shutting out distractions.
> Cognition includes the thought processes of the brain involved in the learning (or re-learning) process. 

How does attention effect the person with aphasia?
When an individual attempts to concentrate, or apply attention to a certain task, cognition is required to kick on in order for the information to be processed, learned and stored for future use.  Since attention and cognition are inter-related, when attention is limited, cognition is also limited. 

How does aphasiatoolbox address attention and cognitive skills?
See  the  video from Bill Connors  and  Brooke  Lang on attention in this edition then contact us for a consultation.

 Bill Connors  and  Brooke Lang discuss:
The importance of Attention Skills

In this month's edition,  Bill Connors  interviews aphasiatool box® clinician Brooke Lang;  they discuss  the importance of attention skills  in aphasia recovery.  Brooke  shows  examples of  tasks that she uses  with her clients, including  the Gradual Reading task,  the schwa-initiated  increasing syllables task, and other.

The Importance of  Attention Skills in Aphasia Recovery
The Importance of Attention Skills in Aphasia Recovery

Click here for the  May 2015 video on Gradual  Reading -

Time:  06:18

Summary: Greater variability in reaction time is associated with reduced gray matter volume in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a new study reports.  Source: Larner College of Medicine.  2017

Understanding how information flows within and between various brain regions is one of the many unsolved mysteries of neuroscience. Recently, a team of neuroscientists broke new ground by pinpointing a unique mechanism that operates like a "switchboard" in the cerebral cortex and appears to control the flow of sensory information in the mammalian brain.  2017

3.  Your Ability to Focus Has Probably Peaked : Here's How
In their new book,  The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World , Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist, and Dr. Larry Rosen, a psychologist, explain how our ability to pay attention works and what we can do to stay focused.   2017

Cognitive flexibility represents someone's ability to shift thoughts and adapt his or her behavior to an ever-changing environment . Levels of cognitive flexibility are reflected by your ability to disengage from a previous task and respond effectively to another task-or to multitask. The more cognitive flexibility an individual has, the greater the chances are that this person can optimize his or her human potential.  2015

Abstract: This study was designed to further elucidate the relationship between cognition and aphasia, with a focus on attention. It was hypothesized that individuals with aphasia would display variable deficit patterns on tests of attention and other cognitive functions and that their attention deficits, particularly those of complex attention functions, would be related to their language and communication status. A group of individuals with varying types and severity of aphasia and a group of age- and education-matched adults with no brain damage completed tests of attention, short-term and working memory, and executive functioning. Overall, the group with aphasia performed significantly more poorly than the control group on the cognitive measures but displayed variability in the presence, types, and severity of their attention and other cognitive deficits. Correlational and regression analyses yielded significant relations between participants' attention deficits and their language and communication status. The findings accorded well with prior research identifying (a) attention and other cognitive deficits in most but not all individuals with aphasia; (b) heterogeneity in the types and severity of attention and other cognitive symptoms among individuals with cognitive impairments; and (c) potent associations among attention, language, and other cognitive domains. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.  2012

Cognitive-communication disorders are problems with communication that have an underlying cause in a cognitive deficit rather than a primary language or speech deficit.


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