Generalization in Aphasia Treatment: A Tutorial for Speech-Language Pathologists

Jamie F. Mayer, Elizabeth B. Madden, Jennifer Mozeiko, Laura L. Murray, Janet P. Patterson, Mary Purdy, Chaleece W. Sandberg, Sarah E. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Generalization has been defined and instantiated in a variety of ways over the last half-century, and this lack of consistency has created challenges for speech-language pathologists to plan for, implement, and measure generalization in aphasia treatment protocols. This tutorial provides an overview of generaliza-tion with a focus on how it relates to aphasia intervention, including a synthesis of existing principles of generalization and examples of how these can be embed-ded in approaches to aphasia treatment in clinical and research settings. Method: Three articles collectively listing 20 principles of generalization formed the foundation for this tutorial. The seminal work of Stokes and Baer (1977) focused attention on generalization in behavioral change following treatment. Two aphasia-specific resources identified principles of generalization in relation to aphasia treatment (Coppens & Patterson, 2018; Thompson, 1989). A selec-tive literature review was conducted to identify evidence-based examples of each of these 20 principles from the extant literature. Results: Five principles of generalization were synthesized from the original list of 20. Each principle was supported by studies drawn from the aphasia treat-ment literature to exemplify its application. Conclusions: Generalization is an essential aspect of meaningful aphasia inter-vention. Successful generalization requires the same dedication to strategic planning and outcome measurement as the direct training aspect of interven-tion. Although not all people with aphasia are likely to benefit equally from each of the principles reviewed herein, our synthesis provides information to consider for maximizing generalization of aphasia treatment outcomes. Supplemental Material:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-73
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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