UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCLP Centre for Neurorehabilitation seminar: Professor Rosemary Varley

08 June 2023, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm


Intervention for sentence processing impairments in aphasia

Event Information

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UCLP Centre for Neurorehabilitation


Lecture Theatre
378: Institute of Neurology, 33 Queen Square
33 Queen Square
United Kingdom

Lecture Theatre, 33 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG

OR Online via Zoom

Please send enquiries to: cnr@ucl.ac.uk

Sentence-level aphasia therapies are less developed than those targeting word/naming impairments. In the Stroke Association-funded UTILISE study, (https://www.cognitionandgrammar.net/utilise), we explored the outcomes of a therapy based around a new approach to sentence processing – that of usage-based Construction Grammar. At the core of the intervention are common and functional sentences such as I made it, which are systematically primed, loosened and lengthened to create further utterances (e.g., I made it yesterday; I made you coffee yesterday). In our first study, therapy was delivered at relatively low-dose in clinic, but follow-on funding has allowed creation of an app that supports telehealth rehabilitation.

The talk will describe the design of the therapy (and how we borrowed ideas from other domains of neurorehabilitation) and preliminary outcomes in sentence comprehension and production of the clinic-delivered intervention. I will also cover our strategy in designing and testing a new intervention, and capture of consecutive awards that allowed us to move from single-case and case-series pilot studies, through to larger scale randomised control trials.

About the Speaker

Professor Rosemary Varley

Rosemary Varley is Professor in Acquired Language Disorders at UCL. Her past posts include the University of Sheffield, and Hong Kong University. She is a speech & language therapist and her research has two strands: sentence processing impairments in aphasia, and non-verbal cognition in severe aphasia. Her current research is funded by The Stroke Association and an MRC/UCL Therapeutic Accelerator Award. She is currently collaborating with Therapy Box to develop a digital intervention to support telehealth therapy.