Big Cactus

Big Cactus

What is the Big Cactus?

The Big Cactus project, carried out by the University of Sheffield, evaluated how computer therapy worked when delivered in practice in the NHS. People with aphasia were recruited by speech and language therapists working in 20 NHS trusts in the UK. Therapists carried out language assessments to check that the people with aphasia who took part were eligible for the study. The team wanted to know whether the approach to using computers for therapy was effective in addition to available face to face speech and language therapy. People with aphasia were randomly allocated to one of three groups:

Available speech and language therapy on its own.

Computer therapy in addition to available speech and language therapy.

The completion of puzzle books and phone calls from a researcher in addition to available speech and language therapy.

What is the Big Cactus?

The Big Cactus project, carried out by the University of Sheffield, evaluated how computer therapy worked when delivered in practice in the NHS. People with aphasia were recruited by speech and language therapists working in 20 NHS trusts in the UK. Therapists carried out language assessments to check that the people with aphasia who took part were eligible for the study. The team wanted to know whether the approach to using computers for therapy was effective in addition to available face to face speech and language therapy. People with aphasia were randomly allocated to one of three groups:

Available speech and language therapy on its own.

Computer therapy in addition to available speech and language therapy.

The completion of puzzle books and phone calls from a researcher in addition to available speech and language therapy.

Want to help? Donate today

The impact of your support can be huge.

Want to help? Donate today

The impact of your support can be huge.

The Results

The study aimed to determine whether the computer approach to aphasia therapy for word finding:

  • Improved ability to find words chosen by the person with aphasia.
  • Improved the ability to have conversations.
  • Helped people with aphasia to be more involved in everyday communication and if it improved their quality of life.
  • Led to improvements that were still in existence six months later.
  • Is cost effective for aphasia more than 4 months after a stroke.

The Results

The study aimed to determine whether the computer approach to aphasia therapy for word finding:

  • Improved ability to find words chosen by the person with aphasia.
  • Improved the ability to have conversations.
  • Helped people with aphasia to be more involved in everyday communication and if it improved their quality of life.
  • Led to improvements that were still in existence six months later.
  • Is cost effective for aphasia more than 4 months after a stroke.

What the study found

People with aphasia improved their ability to find words with the addition of computer therapy. These improvements lasted for at least 6 months after the therapy had ended.

People with aphasia made improvements regardless of how long ago their stroke occurred. Most people with aphasia did not automatically use the newly-learned words in conversation. However, many used more words in conversation than before.

Carers noticed improvements in the people with aphasia after the use of computer therapy.

The computer therapy approach is most likely to be cost-effective for people with mild to moderate word-finding difficulties. It proved to be half the cost of delivering the same amount of additional therapy face to face by a speech and language therapist.

What the study found

People with aphasia improved their ability to find words with the addition of computer therapy. These improvements lasted for at least 6 months after the therapy had ended.

People with aphasia made improvements regardless of how long ago their stroke occurred. Most people with aphasia did not automatically use the newly-learned words in conversation. However, many used more words in conversation than before.

Carers noticed improvements in the people with aphasia after the use of computer therapy.

The computer therapy approach is most likely to be cost-effective for people with mild to moderate word-finding difficulties. It proved to be half the cost of delivering the same amount of additional therapy face to face by a speech and language therapist.

Conclusion

People with aphasia can improve their word finding with extra practice provided at low cost by a computer therapy approach. It is a useful addition to speech and language therapy services.

Other organisations we work with

Menu