An International Survey of Assessment Practices for Short-Term and Working Memory Deficits in Aphasia Purpose Recent research has highlighted the clinical relevance of understanding the nature of short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) deficits in persons with aphasia and the way these deficits affect linguistic processing and functional communication in activities of daily living. The psychometric properties of tests commonly used to identify ... Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   May 03, 2018
An International Survey of Assessment Practices for Short-Term and Working Memory Deficits in Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christos Salis
    Speech & Language Sciences, Newcastle University, King George VI Building, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Laura Murray
    School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western University, Elborn College, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Katrina Bakas
    Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Christos Salis: christos.salis@ncl.ac.uk
  • Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Editor: Daniel Kempler
    Editor: Daniel Kempler×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   May 03, 2018
An International Survey of Assessment Practices for Short-Term and Working Memory Deficits in Aphasia
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2018, Vol. 27, 574-591. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0057
History: Received May 1, 2017 , Revised August 22, 2017 , Accepted October 24, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2018, Vol. 27, 574-591. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0057
History: Received May 1, 2017; Revised August 22, 2017; Accepted October 24, 2017

Purpose Recent research has highlighted the clinical relevance of understanding the nature of short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) deficits in persons with aphasia and the way these deficits affect linguistic processing and functional communication in activities of daily living. The psychometric properties of tests commonly used to identify STM/WM problems in individuals with aphasia, however, have been questioned. No previous study has sought to investigate assessment practices and attitudes by speech-language pathologists involved in aphasia management. Accordingly, the aims of this study were (a) to investigate both attitudes toward STM/WM assessment in individuals with aphasia, as well as the types and frequency of STM/WM tests used with individuals with aphasia, and (b) to explore factors (e.g., educational background) that may influence STM/WM assessment practices.

Method Respondents recruited via professional and aphasia support organizations completed an online survey. The survey elicited information about the respondents' demographic and clinical backgrounds and STM/WM assessment clinical practices and views, including frequency and preferred use of specific STM/WM tests.

Results The majority of respondents reported regular use of STM/WM tests as part of aphasia management. Positive attitudes toward STM/WM assessments were also reported. The most popular rankings of tests were the Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test (Helm-Estabrooks, 2001), the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (Swinburn, Porter, & Howard, 2005), and the Token Test (McNeil & Prescott, 1978). Results suggested limited knowledge about measures that assess self-perceptions of functional memory abilities. Regression analyses showed that the frequency of reported STM/WM test use was similar between clinicians and dual-role researchers/clinicians, but their attitudes toward the value of STM/WM differed. U.S. and UK respondents reported similar assessment practices.

Conclusions It is reassuring that STM/WM is taken into consideration by clinicians when providing aphasia management. Two of the most popular tests, however, have poor psychometric properties, and caution should be exercised in clinical decision making. The different value placed on STM/WM testing by clinicians and researchers/clinicians has implications for continuing professional development.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to all respondents who completed the survey and the organizations, as well as persons who promoted the survey. The authors would also like to thank Pam Enderby and Fiona Stewart, who provided feedback on the content of the survey.
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