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Computerized writing aids make writing easier for persons with aphasia
Date:2/3/2009

It is possible to improve writing skills for those with aphasia with the aid of computerised writing aids. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Aphasia affects the ability to understand and use spoken language, and the ability to read and write. Persons with aphasia were trained in the use of computerised writing aids in the study on which speech and language pathologist Ingrid Behrns' doctoral thesis is based. The subjects were aided by a computer-based spell-checker and a program for word prediction, similar to that used when writing SMS messages on mobile telephones.

The thesis shows that writing ability improved in several ways with the aid of these programs.

"A fairly high reading and writing ability is necessary in order to benefit from the most common spell-checkers. So we used two writing aids that have been specially developed for persons with dyslexia, instead. These programs were also useful for persons who have writing problems arising from aphasia", says Ingrid Behrns.

The programs are easy to use and cheap to purchase, and may be beneficial for many people who have aphasia. The greatest benefit for those who were members of the group receiving writing training was that it became easier to make corrections in what they had written. They also wrote longer sentences with fewer spelling errors.

"But is important to remember that time must be invested in learning how to use the computer programs. It was particularly encouraging to find that it is possible to improve writing ability even though several years have passed since the participants developed aphasia", says Ingrid Behrns.

Previous research into writing ability and aphasia has focussed on the spelling of single words, but the work presented in the thesis investigated not only the completed text but also revisions that were made when writing a story. This makes it poss
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Contact: Ingrid Behrns
ingrid.behrns@neuro.gu.se
46-317-866-883
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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