Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department

Organismal Biology

Reader 1

Sheila Rosenberg

Reader 2

Marion Preest

Rights Information

© 2016 Michelle Lam


With a large population of people who suffer from aphasia, it is imperative that an effective form of therapy is utilized. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) programs in improving the communication needs and lives of people affected by aphasia. Individuals (n = 20) suffering from aphasia for 3 months or more completed therapy sessions with speech and language pathologists and the AAC program. Pre- and post-intervention evaluations were administered, consisting of communication satisfaction and success questionnaires, the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB), and probing tests (prompt and response) with an EEG component. Only preliminary data analyses were completed, on three individuals, due to setbacks. All individuals improved on their post-WAB score and average scores on the questionnaires generally increased, but none were statistically significant. However, clinicians noted a clinical significance in improvements, which suggests that AACs are beneficial in aiding and improving people’s communicative functions and daily life. Resting state EEG data of one subject exhibited high mean power spectral densities (PSD) for delta and theta bands in the lobes before and after therapy, supporting previous literature. Mean PSDs of the left frontal lobe demonstrated a statistically significant decrease from pre- to post-, which in the case of the delta and theta bands may indicate possible recovery. More research is necessary to substantiate these conclusions and to explore the use of EEG in mapping brain lesions and tracking the brain’s rehabilitation, as well as the benefits of AACs.