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Individuals living in residential aged care facilities with cognitive decline are at risk of social isolation and decreased wellbeing. These risks may be exacerbated by decline in communication skills. There is growing awareness that group singing may improve sense of wellbeing for individuals with dementia. However, to date few studies have examined broader rehabilitative effects on skills such as communication of individuals with dementia.
To determine the feasibility and acceptability of the MuSic to Connect (MuSiCON) choir and language/communication assessment protocol in people with cognitive impairment living in non-high-care wards of a residential facility.
Six individuals with mild-moderate cognitive impairment participated (age range 55–91 years, five female, one male). A mixed method approach was used. Quantitative outcomes included attendance rates, quality of life and communication measures. The qualitative measure was a brief survey of experience completed by participants and carers post-intervention.
Overall, MuSiCON was perceived as positive and beneficial, with high attendance, perception of improved daily functioning and high therapeutic benefit without harmful effects. While there was no reliable change in communication skills over the course of the six-week intervention, most participants successfully engaged in the conversational task, suggesting it is a suitable and ecologically valid method for data collection
The MuSiCON protocol demonstrated feasibility and was well received by participants and staff at the residential facility. A co-design approach is recommended to improve upon feasibility, acceptability and validity of the assessment protocol prior to Phase II testing.
Lexical stress is the contrast between strong and weak syllables within words. Ballard et al. (2012) examined the amount of stress contrastivity across adjacent syllables in word productions of typically developing three- to seven-year-olds and adults. Here, eight- to eleven-year-olds are compared with the adults from Ballard et al. using acoustic measurements of relative contrast in duration, peak intensity, and peak fundamental frequency of the vowels within the initial two syllables of each word. While eight- to eleven-year-olds are closer to adult-like stress contrastivity than three- to seven-year-olds, they are not yet adult-like in terms of the intensity contrast for words beginning with a weak syllable.
This study examined the postulate that training
production of syntactically complex sentences results in
generalization to less complex sentences that have processes
in common with treated structures. Three agrammatic aphasic
patients were trained to produce wh-movement structures,
object clefts and/or object extracted who-questions,
while generalization between these structures was tested.
One NP-movement structure, passive sentences, also was
tested for control purposes. Wh-movement occurs
from the direct object position to specifier position
in the complementizer phrase [SPEC, CP] for both
wh-movement structures. In who-questions
movement occurs in the matrix sentence, whereas, in object
clefts movement occurs within an embedded relative clause,
rendering them the most complex. Results showed robust
generalization effects from object clefts to matrix who-question
for 1 participant (D.L.); however, no generalization was
noted from who-questions to object clefts for
another (F.P.), and 1 participant (C.H.) showed acquisition
of who-questions, but not object clefts, during
the baseline condition without direct treatment. As expected,
none of the participants showed improved production of
passives. These findings supported those derived from our
previous studies, indicating that generalization is enhanced
not only when target structures are related along dimensions
articulated by linguistic theory, but also when the direction
of treatment is from more to less complex structures. The
present findings also support proposals that projections
of higher levels in the syntactic treatment are dependent
on successful projection of lower levels. For our participants,
training movement within CP in a lower (embedded) clause
resulted in their ability to project to CP at higher levels.
(JINS, 1998, 4, 661–674.)
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