Speech and Hearing Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



A review of the literature suggests two explanations for gestural deficits in the aphasic patient. One view of the problem suggests that gestural impairment in the aphasic patient is related to a general communicative deficit. Another concept of the problem which has received more scientific support suggests that gestural deficit is secondary to a limb apraxia and is quite independent of the severity of aphasia.

The present study, therefore, was designed to investigate three primary questions:

1. Can a gestural test battery be developed which can reliably measure the gestural ability of aphasic patients?

2. Is there a relationship between gestural deficit and aphasia or is gestural deficit independent of aphasia?

3. Does an alternative explanation of gestural deficit, such as apraxia, adequately describe this impairment?

Several procedural steps were involved in the investigation of these questions. Eight tasks were designed to test tactile recognition, pantomimic expression, gestural recognition and imitative ability of aphasic patients. A test blind was constructed for purposes of isolating the tactile input modality and for supporting pictures of stimulus material. These materials and procedures were standardized on twenty-five normal controls who demonstrated a relative ease of performance on PICA and experimental subtests. Following standardization of materials and procedures, a group of twenty-eight aphasic patients with etiologies of cerebrovascular accident (CVA), trauma and surgical trauma were tested on the PICA and experimental test batteries. Sixteen of these patients were retested one week after initial testing under two conditions. Condition One subjects received the PICA followed by the experimental test and Condition Two subjects were given the experimental test followed by the PICA. The major findings arising from these procedures were as follows:

1. The experimental test was a successful and reliable instrument for measuring the gestural ability of aphasic patients.

2. Gestural ability is related to the overall severity of aphasia.

3. The explanation of a gestural deficit resulting from limb apraxia is not generally supported.

In conclusion, gestural impairment in the aphasic patient may be best explained as part of the general communicative deficit and is, therefore, subject to additional research in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Speech and Hearing Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Bruce Earl Porch

Second Committee Member

William John Ryan

Third Committee Member

David Joe Draper

Fourth Committee Member

Frederick Martin Chreist Sr.



Document Type