05 January 2015
The delivery of tablet-based rehabilitation for individuals with post-stroke aphasia is relatively new, therefore, this study examined the effectiveness of an iPad-based therapy to demonstrate improvement in specific therapy tasks and how the tasks affect overall language and cognitive skills. Fifty-one individuals with aphasia due to a stroke or traumatic brain injury ( TBI) were recruited to use an iPad-based software platform, Constant Therapy, for a 10 week therapy program. Participants were split into an experimental ( N = 42) and control ( N = 9) group. Both experimental and control participants received a 1 h clinic session with a clinician once a week, the experimental participants additionally practiced the therapy at home. Participants did not differ in the duration of the therapy and both groups of participants showed improvement over time in the tasks used for the therapy. However, experimental participants used the application more often and showed greater changes in accuracy and latency on the tasks than the control participants; experimental participants' severity level at baseline as measured by standardized tests of language and cognitive skills were a factor in improvement on the tasks. Subgroups of task co-improvement appear to occur between different language tasks, between different cognitive tasks, and across both domains. Finally, experimental participants showed more significant and positive changes due to therapy in their standardized tests than control participants. These results provide preliminary evidence for the usefulness of a tablet-based platform to deliver tailored language and cognitive therapy to individuals with aphasia.