Reviewers' Comments

Community Cards

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Community Cards - Review

… The cards were used in therapy with adults with aphasia. These cards are really multifunctional. They include a variety of single images and full action scenes appropriate for (Australian) adult users. They are community based, and therefore useful in therapy aimed at areas of activity and participation (within the World Health Organization model). The cards can be used in tasks for grammatical encoding, picture naming and picture description, semantic feature analysis and providing shared/obligatory context for discussion – and more!

Holly, Rachel, Lauren, 3rd year Human Communication Sciences students,
and Deborah West, clinical supervisor,
Curtin University/Royal Perth Hospital Adult Communication Clinic
ACQ Vol 7 No. 2, 2005


Building Language: Word Sounds

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Word Sounds - Review

… Our clinic in adult neurological rehabilitation has used the manual to target both expressive and receptive deficits with Wernicke’s, Global and Broca’s type aphasias and it has been useful when facilitating sound accuracy with afferent dyspraxia breakdown and auditory discrimination work.

… For work at the single phoneme and grapheme level, this manual offers variety. The large black and white pictures are mostly recognizable. The writing is large and clear in lower case with the key sound/letter highlighted. The tasks are graded in complexity from visual and auditory distance and work towards minimal pairs. It enables clinicians to do some additional simple writing/copying at single word level. The clinician has the option to use the visual and auditory model; however it is quite easy to cover either the picture or written word if necessary to work on a singular modality.

Kath Sennitt
ACQ Vol 2 No. 2, 2000.


Word Sounds - Review

This companion volume to the previously successful “Word Meanings” continues the authors’ tradition of producing materials which are grounded in the theory of cognitive neuropsychology.

Once again we find the material is suitably graded to provide a range of activities in which the relevant linguistic variables have bee controlled for e.g. frequency, phonological features and spelling regularity. These variables are cleverly manipulated to produce numerous exercises of varying difficulty. Every page clearly identifies how these variables have been controlled in each particular task.
Once again the production is of high standard – the picture used are visually clear and unlikely to be ambiguous on the meaning and the spiral binding ensures a book that will be durable no matter how many time the pages are photocopied.
This flexible resource will be useful when working with a range of acquired and developmental difficulties affecting both phonological and orthographic input and output processing.

Christine Scott
Speech Pathologist


Building Language: Word Meanings

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Word Meanings - Review

A workbook should be accessible, clear, theoretically rigorous and easy to use for both therapist and client. Building Language is all of these things … The instructions section is succinct and clearly written in language suitable for both therapist and non-specialist helper …

The variables known to affect aphasic performance have been manipulated. At the bottom of each page is a “legend” … the rationale behind the grading of the tasks and items selected is clearly tabulated in the introduction and the frequency ratings in the appendix. The workbook is obviously theoretically rigorous, based on a cognitive neuropsyhological approach to treatment. However the references to the theoretical considerations are neither obtrusive nor distracting. The worksheets can be used in therapy sessions and as home practice.

This workbook will be useful for therapists working with people with severe to reasonably high level difficulties …

Kate Swinburn
RCSLT Bulletin August, 1998.


Word Meanings - Review

This is an excellent workbook. It uses simple tasks and vocabulary and increases the complexity of the tasks in a structured way by manipulating the number (4 – 15) and type (semantically related or unrelated) of distractor. Moreover, the tasks used in sections 2, 3 and 4 have been reported to be effective in remediating word finding for many people with aphasia (for a review of the literature see Nickels and Best, Aphasiology, 1996, Vol. 10, 21-47).

Lindsey Nickels


Word Meanings - Review

Activities in the book are constructed around several key linguistic and cognitive variables which are manipulated to achieve a useful task hierarchy. As such the exercises are graded into three levels of difficulty based on semantic relatedness, imageablity, frequency of language used and the number of response choices. This means that the materials can form the basis of a therapy program with patients and clients at many different levels. Indeed the easy reproducibility of the tasks - and the high quality graphics - provides the busy clinician with ready made materials that require little or no advance preparation.

The workbook is accessible to those with an understanding of cognitive neuropsychology as well as those without.

Christine Scott
Speech Pathologist


Word Meanings - Review

… It will be of considerable use to the practicing clinician, where caseload demands are often prohibitive to designing therapy material tailored to the needs of the individual client. Purchases of the resource book are entitled to reproduce tasks for use in treatment. This resource provides a range of tasks that are flexible enough to suit a range of clients with differing degrees of language difficulty.

This publication contains one of the widest collection of ideas presently available in the area and is one of the few resources for therapy that is compatible with the cognitive neuro-psychological approach to language. It makes a considerable contribution to the clinicians’ therapeutic armoury.

Max Coltheart and Jenny Cole
Psychology Department
Macquarie University


Word Meanings - Review

… The very clear and unambiguous layout is excellent and the simple pictorial material is appropriate to clients of all ages. The page-by-page “stand-alone” design is practical and the page legend at the bottom of each page allows the helper to efficiently establish whether a particular page is suitable for the client.

… this book is applicable to a wide age-range of clients for whom work on word meanings is appropriate. Aspects of sections 2, 3 and 4 could be used with quite young children who are developing vocabulary and conceptual knowledge. Section 5, Words in Groups, would lend itself to inclusion in programmes for older students where progress to more abstract and conceptually complex levels is needed.

Florence Gough
Paediatric Speech-Language Pathologist


Word Meanings - Review

As a teacher in the field of Adult Basic Education and, in particular, of low level literacy students, in the past I have often found appropriate resources hard to come by.

Many of the students in my low level English class have an intellectual disability in conjunction with perceptual and cognitive deficits. I have found the accessible arrangement and layout and the clear and uncluttered illustrations in Building Language: Word Meanings particularly appealing for both myself and my students.

I have integrated quite a few of the activities into a low level spelling class, where most of the students have extremely poor auditory perceptual skills. The vocabulary targeted is extremely relevant to these students who find the strong emphasis on categories very useful as a cueing device.

Ruth Irving
Teacher, Department of Adult Basic Education
West Melbourne Institute of TAFE


Word Meanings - Review

… systematic control of variables important in semantic processing is a particularly valuable strength of the workbook and sets it apart from other therapy resources. … to a large extent, cultural bias has been avoided. The artwork and visual presentation of materials is highly commendable being both clear and unambiguous.

Dr. Jacinta Douglas
La Trobe University Melbourne


Building Language: Word Meanings and Building Language: Word Sounds

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Word Meanings and Word Sounds - Review

These two ‘Building Language’ workbooks are designed primarily as a treatment resource for the therapist working with adults and adolescents with language disorders. Together they address the two main areas of language processing (and hence of language disorder) at a single word level: semantics and phonology. Thus the first, ‘Word Meanings’, provides a structured series of tasks which involve judgments of semantics; the second, ‘Word Sounds’, tasks involving phonological/orthographic contrasts. In itself this division is not new, however, what places these workbooks apart from (and superior to) other similar materials is the careful structuring of the tasks (with each worksheet individually graded) and the clear statement of goals of each task. This is particularly true in the case of ‘Word Meanings’- well structured materials involving simple semantic judgments are difficult to come by (although there are many materials for higher level tasks). The workbooks are well designed, clearly and simply laid out with clear illustrations. The instructions and ‘hints for helpers’ at the beginning of each section will be invaluable when the worksheets are to be used for clients and careers to complete unassisted by the clinician…

Lyndsey Nickels


Building Language: Word Meanings and Word Meanings Vol 1 Interactive CD

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Word Meanings (Book and Vol 1 Interactive CD)

Elizabeth Cardell and Melissa Lawrie

1. Robyn Dower and Jan Mackey (1996). Building Language: Word Meanings: A manual of language exercises for adults and adolescents
This is an excellent resource for targeting semantic deficits, using the cognitive neuropsychological approach. The therapy exercises are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe aphasia. Semantic therapy tasks include matching, odd-one-out, categorization and word association. Each task is hierarchically arranged and controlled for several variables including semantic relatedness, frequency, imageability and number of distractors.

6. Computer software
We find the use of computer-based therapy software programs is a useful adjunct to individual therapy sessions. In the rehabilitation setting, clients can work on these programs independently, with a speech pathologist, or under the supervision of a trained volunteer or family member. Some of our favourite resources are: Word Meanings…

Elizabeth Cardell and Melissa Lawrie
Speech Pathologists
ACQ Volume 9, Number 2 2007


Words Work

Foundation Resources for
development of communication skills

Jan Mackey and Robyn Dower,
Speech Pathologists



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