UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Use of a cueing aid in therapy with adults with anomia


(See also KeyPhone)

Therapist researchers:David Howard, Carolyn Bruce, Claire Gatehouse, Wendy Best
FunderMedical Research Council

This project investigated using an aid which turned letters to sounds with adults with anomia. Carolyn Bruce and David Howard 1 had devised the aid to provide the missing link between letters (people with anomia can sometimes point to the initial letter of the words they are trying to find) and sounds (people are often aided by initial phoneme cues). Thirteen people with aphasia participated in the study.

For these participants as a group there was significantly better naming after 5 sessions of intervention (using the aid) than at baseline 2. Individual outcomes were very varied with some people benefiting more from the intervention, some generalising to untreated items and others showing improvement limited to items included in treatment. Some possible reasons for the different outcomes are discussed in a paper with Lyndsey Nickels 3. Finally, in a detailed single case study this therapy approach is compared with other approaches. The use of the cueing aid improved retrieval of both treated and untreated words, in picture naming and word finding in connected speech 4.


1. Bruce, C. and Howard, D. (1988). Why don't Broca's aphasics cue themselves? An investigation of phonemic cueing and tip-of-the-tongue information. Neuropsychologia, 26, 253-264.

2. Best, W., Howard, D, Bruce, C & Gatehouse, C (1997) A treatment for anomia; combining semantics, phonology and orthography. p.102-129. In S. Chiat, J. Marshall & J. Law (Eds). Language disorders in children and adults, psycholinguistic approaches to therapy. Whurr, London.

3. Best, W & Nickels, L. (2000) From theory to therapy - where are we and where are we going? In A. Basso, S. Cappa, & G. Gainotti (Eds) Cognitive Neuropsychology and Language Rehabilitation. Psychology Press. p. 231-247.

4. Best, W., Howard, D., Bruce, C. & Gatehouse, C. (1997) Cueing the words: a single case study of treatments for anomia. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 7 (2), 105-141.