The present study had been designed to determine whether Blissymbolics - a visual-graphic communication system based on meaning rather than phonetics - could be used as a means of communication re-training with adults having expressive aphasia. This study investigated the performance of those individuals who had plateaued in re-learning expressive language and speech via traditional speech therapy techniques.
Specifically, answers were sought to the following questions:
- To what extent does Blissymbolics augment the expressive communication of adults with expressive aphasia, compared with their ability to communicate through speech and writing?
- Will there be any statistically significant difference in the ability of subjects to respond to the Verbal Subtest items of the Porch Index of Communicative Ability, using spontaneous oral speech versus Blissymbolics plus spontaneous oral speech?
- Will there by any statistically significant difference in the ability of subjects to respond to the Graphic Subtest items of the Porch Index of Communicative Ability, using Blissymbols versus traditional orthography?
During the three-month period of study, each subject was provided with training in Blissymbolics as an augmentative form of communication. A total of 36 therapy sessions and 4 testing sessions was provided. Each session consisted of 45 to 60 minutes of training, 3 days per week. Each subject's performance was evaluated to determine whether Blissymbolics training was providing the subject with:
- Improved skills at word-finding and speech production, as measured by the Porch Index of Communicative Ability;
- The ability to express feelings, ideas, wants, and needs on a spontaneous basis which previously could not be generated spontaneously through speech;
- Significantly improved ability in responding to the Graphic Subtests of the Porch Index of Communicative Ability, when aided by Blissymbolic cues;
- Significantly improved ability in responding to the Verbal and Graphic Subtests of the Porch Index of Communicative Ability through spontaneous oral speech, aided by Blissymbolic cues.
Data baselines for oral/non-vocal communication were obtained from each subject prior to, during and after introduction to Blissymbolics. Each subject served as his/her own control and progress was charted on a longitudinal basis.
The Hotelling T-Square test for the Porch Index of Communicative Ability Verbal Subtest Response Level Score were significant below the .05 level of confidence when comparing the differences in word-finding and speech production abilities between baseline and M3. The P-value was at the .000 level, indicative of significant improvement.
The test scores for the PICA Verbal Subtest I were also significant when comparing the differences in the ability to express feelings, wants, and needs between baseline and M3. The P-value was at the .001 level of confidence, indicating significant improvement.
The Graphic Subtest scores of the PICA were used in a One-Way Analysis of Variance. Scores showed significant improvement when comparing the differences in graphic abilities between baseline and M3. The F-value was at the .019 level showing significant progress.
The conclusion was that Blissymbolics training used as an augmentative communication tool, significantly aided aphasic subjects, who had plateaued in traditional speech therapy approaches, in re-learning communication skills.
Melvin S. Cohen
Robert S. Stretter
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Aphasia; Nonverbal Communication; Speech Therapy
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Nishikawa, Lynne K., "Blissymbolics as an Augmentative Communication Tool for Adults with Expressive Aphasia" (1980). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1067.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives