American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Developing Vocabulary Lists

Treatment Tip

Patients who have anomic aphasia, primary progressive aphasia, or apraxia often have difficulty producing nouns. A vocabulary list for the season can be used to help with verbalizations and the "flow" of a conversation, whether the therapist provides minimum or maximum assistance. For example: a winter vocabulary list may include holiday words, snow, winter clothing, family birthdays, comfort foods, community events, family events, etc. Depending on the time of year you are working with the person, you can personalize each list during sessions and laminate it so it can be used at home or can be used as part of their home carry-over program. The severity of the person's impairment will certainly dictate the amount of participation from the patient. Newspaper flyers, catalogues, and family photos are some of the things you can use as stimuli.

When working with a person with aphasia (usually higher level), establishing a core, personal vocabulary list is helpful. For example, if the person works/worked in sales, have them list products they sold; if an engineer, list design products, etc. You can then use this vocabulary to work on word-finding strategies such as feature analysis or structured conversational segments. 

Submitted by Janice Masterson, MS, CCC-SLP, Finger Lakes Health/Geneva General Hospital, Geneva, New York

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