Word Retrieval Therapy

Matching games, such as the one on this site, are fun, simple ways of learning the identification of words and pictures.  But they can also have a much higher purpose – – helping those with word retrieval difficulties.  Speech and language pathologists often use matching games in their therapy to help patients with specific word retrieval disorders – – particularly aphasia.

Aphasia is a word-retrieval disorder characterized by the inability to think of the right word to say or write, or an inability to name common objects.  The disorder is often a side affect of a stroke, or other brain injury and is a result of damage sustained to one of the areas of the brain responsible for language.  Aphasia can also include difficulty understanding spoken words, speaking aloud, reading, or writing. 

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development showed that patients with Aphasia who participated in lexical treatments involving word and picture matching improved their ability to retrieve those words in future conversation.  Aphasic patients often use word/picture activities designed by their therapists, or they work independently with specific treatment software.  Many software programs are designed to help patients struggling with word retrieval difficulties, but sometimes the costs of these programs can be prohibitive.

Fortunately, the internet provides free access to many games which are similar to the ones designed by speech and language pathologists for their aphasic patients.  Match Game on vocabulary.co.il, for instance, allows a player to identify many specific words by matching words and pictures.  In learning mode, the player chooses one of 15 categories of words to practice with.  When clicked on, the picture-word card allows the player to hear the word spoken by a real voice, not a computer generated tone.  In play mode, the word-picture cards are hidden in a concentration-type format, and the player must find the matching pairs of cards.  The player chooses the difficulty level and category.

As a supplement to speech and language therapy, people with aphasia, or other language impairments, could greatly benefit from the fun and simple interface of Match Game and the other great word games on vocabulary.co.il.  If you find one of the games on the site to be beneficial to your treatment and recovery, how about letting us know. 

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