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Computer use by People with Aphasia: A Survey Investigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2014

Emma Finch*
Division of Speech Pathology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia Speech Pathology Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia
Anne J. Hill
Division of Speech Pathology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia
Address for correspondence: Emma Finch, Division of Speech Pathology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Therapies Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLDAustralia4072. E-mail:


Computers are encountered increasingly in the clinical setting, including during aphasia rehabilitation. However, currently we do not know what people with aphasia think about using computers in therapy and daily life, or to what extent people with aphasia use computers in their everyday life. The present study explored: (1) the use of computers by people with aphasia; and (2) the perceptions of people with aphasia towards computers and computer-based therapy. Thirty-four people with aphasia completed an aphasia-friendly paper-based survey about their use of computers before and after the onset of their aphasia, and their attitudes towards computer-based aphasia therapy. There was a high level of computer usage by people with aphasia both before and after the onset of their aphasia. However, the nature of the computer use changed following aphasia onset, with a move away from work-based usage. The majority of the cohort used computers for aphasia therapy and liked using computer-based aphasia therapy, provided that the programs were perceived as appropriate for their individual needs. The results highlight the importance of exposing people with aphasia to computer-based aphasia therapy in a supported clinical environment, and the need to ensure that computer-based therapy is individualised for each client. It should be noted, however, that while the majority of participants reported positive experiences with using computers, this does not mean that the computer-based therapy software used was necessarily an effective treatment for aphasia.

Copyright © Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment 2014 

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