Semantic feature analysis aphasia

SFA is used to improve word-retrieval abilities in clients with aphasia. This is done via spoken production of a target, most usually prompted through a picture stimulus, alongside structured elicitation of a series of semantic features that are associated with the target. This combination of elicitation of a target and semantic features is hypothesised to strengthen (or reactivate) the semantic network around the target and thereby facilitating improved word retrieval on subsequent attempts. As the client is also encouraged to verbally produce the target, phonological representations of the target are also accessed and may therefore also improve the activation pathways between semantic and phonological representations.

Who is it used with?

An example of an SFA worksheet

SFA may be suitable for clients with impairments at the level of semantics and also in accessing phonological word forms from semantics. Some applications may also be relevant for clients with difficulties exclusively at the level of phonological representations although other approaches may be more applicable (e.g. Phonological Components Analysis).

Basic task structure

SFA is generally carried out with the aid of a ‘worksheet’ that may be presented on paper or via computer screen. The worksheet generally presents single-word or sentence prompts to elicit the semantic features (e.g. Location/Where would you find it?). When the client provides an appropriate response, these are generally written in the relevant space by the clinician.

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