Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jo Shackelford (Director), Richard Dressler, and Janice Smith

Degree Program

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Type

Master of Science, PWAs, visual analog scale


Persons with aphasia (PWAs) often demonstrate challenges in the areas of expressive language, comprehension, reading, and writing. Due to these deficits, PWAs have limited opportunity to express their opinions and contribute to treatment planning. This project focused on the development of a self-report needs assessment tool for PWAs that facilitates PWAs participation in treatment planning. The needs assessment tool was designed using aphasia-friendly features including pictographic/visual analog scale, key words in bold, simple wording, large font, consistent question formatting, flexible administration, and the use of a communication partner/interview. The needs assessment tool was administered to seven PWAs in the Bowling Green, Kentucky area. Participants were recruited from short-term rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, and personal homes. The needs assessment tool is comprised of 12 items targeting interest in therapeutic offerings for inclusion in a new intensive comprehensive aphasia program (ICAP). Results revealed the importance of flexible administration in response to participants’ communication abilities and limitations. With use of communicative support, the needs assessment tool provided an opportunity for PWAs to effectively express treatment preferences. Participants indicated moderate interest in an ICAP at Western Kentucky University and treatment options including individual speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and community outings.


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Speech Pathology and Audiology