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An Exploration of Group Intervention for Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors with Aphasia

Madison Larson, The University Of Montana
Dawson Jakober, The University Of Montana

Aphasia is a language impairment that commonly disrupts language comprehension (i.e., reading and listening to spoken language) and production (i.e., speaking and writing) in stroke survivors. Persons with aphasia (PWAs) are often cared for by an unpaid family caregiver (i.e., spouse, relative, friend) who assists them with activities of daily living and daily communication tasks (e.g., texting, emailing, phone calling). During a 4-week intensive comprehensive aphasia program (ICAP) at the University of Montana (UM) family caregivers of PWAs participated in interventions designed to improve family caregiver well-being, to improve PWA-caregiver communication, and to improve quality of life for both PWAs and family caregivers. During UM ICAP programs between 2016-2018, family caregiver psychosocial outcomes were assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the Bakas Caregiving Outcomes Scale (BCO). These assessments are used to measure psychosocial characteristics including stress, psychosocial changes accompanied by caregiving, and the social and emotional impacts of being a caregiver. These assessments were administered before the caregivers began the ICAP and then again after the ICAP program was completed (n=20). During the ICAP, caregivers participated in psychoeducation sessions, group counseling sessions, and specialized communication skill and strategy use training. These interventions were delivered by a licensed family counselor and speech-language pathologists from the University of Montana. These weekly interventions consisted of two one and a half hour sessions of group counseling and one, one and a half hour session of group aphasia education and communication training. Scores from the three pre-post outcome measures will be analyzed to investigate the psychosocial effects of the ICAP family caregiver interventions on psychosocial well-being. Findings have the potential to illustrate the importance of improving caregiver services for stroke survivors with aphasia.

Can a molecule within chili peppers enhance cough suppression therapy for individuals with chronic cough?

Paige E. Morkrid, University of Montana
Rachel Harker, University of Montana

This study includes individuals with Refractory Chronic Cough, who often experience significant disruption in quality of life such as depression, social isolation, and loss of work. Participants have previously been unresponsive to medical treatment, including behavioral cough suppression therapy. The aim of this research is to examine the effectiveness of using a molecule found within chili peppers-capsaicin-to enhance existing behavioral cough suppression techniques.

Participants were randomized to either a treatment or placebo group and evaluated through pretest, treatment and post-test measures. Pretest measures established the participants baseline, which included: the concentration of aerosolized capsaicin that elicits five coughs when inhaled through a nebulizer; outcome measures such as urge to cough, quality of life, self-reported cough triggers; and cough frequency. Over six sessions, groups received either progressive supra-threshold doses of capsaicin (treatment), or repeated sub-threshold doses (placebo) while practicing behavioral cough suppression techniques. Following treatment, post-test evaluations were administered to measure changes in outcome measures.

A total of 10 participants have been examined thus far. Clinically meaningful improvement has been reported in 6/7 within treatment and 1/3 within placebo. While this study is ongoing, the use of capsaicin alongside behavior cough suppression techniques has promising implications for treating those with chronic cough that do not respond to cough therapy alone.

Do Studies of Speech Sound Acquisition Accurately Represent all Children? A Comparison of Demographic and Design Variables across Normative Studies.

Allyson K. Mertz

Purpose: Normative data are collected from a sample of the population to establish benchmarks for developmental expectations. A developmental timeline for speech sounds has been established using these benchmarks. This timeline is used by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to determine whether a child’s speech skills are developing in a typical or delayed manner, and is often critical in qualifying a child for speech pathology services. However, for the clinical comparison to be accurate and valid, SLPs should be aware of the demographic and design variables used in each study to determine if the children being tested are fairly represented. Thus, the purpose of this poster is to examine the demographic and design variables used in these baseline studies to support increased validity in clinical decision-making.

Methods: This poster is a descriptive review of six major studies of speech sound acquisition: Glaspey (2019), McLeod and Crowe (2018), Shriberg (1993) and Smit, Hand, Freilinger, Bernthal, and Bird (1990), Templin (1957), and Wellman (1931). These studies were selected based on the frequency of use or the publication date. Eight demographic variables and four design variables were selected for comparison. The similarities and differences across these studies will be presented.

Significance: Speech-language pathologists need to be aware of both demographic and design variables included in normative tests of speech sound disorders to accurately interpret and apply the results. The comparisons in this poster are significant because they highlight the benefits of recent studies that are more demographically representative of today’s population. Furthermore, SLPs can achieve the best clinical results by using the same design components as the normative studies to increase the validity of their assessment practices. The clinical implications of speech-language pathologists’ choice and use of normative studies will be discussed to support evidence-based clinical practice.

Fish on Fluoxetine: Fins of Fury or Fins of Fainéant

Isabella J. Kadrmas, University of Montana, Missoula
Tori Baur, University of Montana, Missoula
Serena Gardner, University of Montana, Missoula
Sayde Reeves, University of Montana, Missoula
Cassidy Cruciotti, University of Montana, Missoula
Mariah Oboyle, University of Montana, Missoula
Lukas Millward, University of Montana, Missoula
Susan Greene, University of Montana, Missoula

In recent years there has been an increase in chemical disposal of antidepressants, such as Fluoxetine, entering our water system through treated wastewater. Of concern is the small aquatic species being expected to survive and reproduce in this poisoned water system. Various behavioral effects have been found across species around the world, in all ecosystems. Furthermore, these toxins accumulate in aquatic species and can be transferred via consumption to other organisms, spreading the toxins and causing unknown consequences. In smaller organisms, many behavioral effects have already been documented such as changes in movement and motivation. In order to further study the effects of Fluoxetine on behavior, motivation, courting and aggression we sought out an aquatic species that fit these criteria. Betta splendens lack self-recognition which results in a unique aggressive response to mirrors that can be manipulated by the drug. It was hypothesized that the drug would affect the aggressive response of the males, changing their overall fighting technique and motivation to engage with the mirror. The experiment was divided into three phases: baseline, drug exposure, and return to baseline. An alleyway was utilized with a mirror on one end to measure four aggressive responses: gill flaring, fin spreading, lateral displays, and biting. The latency for males to swim from one side of the alleyway to the other was documented and a camera recorded the specific aggressive behaviors. Prior to fighting the mirror, half the males were primed with a female to provide additional motivation to engage with the mirror. Results revealed a significant change in fighting behaviors during the drug phase, with lateral display and gill flaring exhibiting the largest negative impact. These results have shown us there are detrimental effects from these antidepressants in our water systems, and that improper chemical disposal will negatively impact the ecosystem.

Inaccuracy mentalizing humans predicts greater mentalizing of nature and technology

Kali B. Taylor

Humans’ tendency to infer others’ mental states is thought to be vital to social cognition. Yet people mentalize broadly, attributing mental states to humans, as well as animals, nature, and technology. There appears to be a relation between imagining others’ minds and internal states, whether the target is another person (social cognition), a non-human entity (anthropomorphism) and motivation to read others’ minds (motivation to infer others’ perspectives) (Tahiroglu & Taylor, 2018). This study examined the relationship between anthropomorphism and mind reading motivation, since studies indirectly suggest that there is a relationship between these variables in children, this study examined it in adults first. Participants (N=137; Median age=22.01, SD=6.56, range 18 to 54; 73.5% identified as female, 26.5% identified as male). Eighteen additional participants were excluded for failure to correctly answer the attention check question, eligible participants completed Individual Differences in Anthropomorphism Questionnaire (measuring anthropomorphism), the Mind-Reading Motivation Scale (measuring motivation to infer others’ thoughts), Empathy Quotient (measures ability to take others’ perspectives), and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task (accuracy of inferring others’ emotions) online. While this study primarily examined the relationship between anthropomorphism and mind reading motivation, the Empathy Quotient and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task were also included to explore a relationship between mind reading motivation and mind reading accuracy or mind reading accuracy and anthropomorphism. The distinction between accuracy and motivation may be critical for understanding the relation between mental state attribution across humans, non-humans, and imaginary companions.

The results from this study are important as they could be applied to children. If relationships between any of these variables are found in adults the age that these relationships may develop can be explored in children.

Language Contributions to Early Word Reading Success

Allison Beall, University of Montana, Missoula
Maria Begger, University of Montana, Missoula
Mary Fahlman, University of Montana, Missoula
Melissa Phelan, University of Montana, Missoula
Samantha Hege, University of Montana, Missoula
Sophia Tolbert, University of Montana, Missoula

Title:Identifying kindergarten children at risk for developmental language disorder and dyslexia using a whole-classroom screen.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determineif two whole-classroom screeners of language and literacy skills administered to local kindergarten classrooms can reliably identify children at risk for developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia.

Method: Two cohorts of kindergarten children in asingle public-school district (n = 1127) completed two separate 25-minute, whole-classroom screens in the Fall of 2018 and 2019; one targeting grammatical skills (language) and the other targeting phonological and orthographic awareness skills (literacy).A subsample of these children completed an assessment battery of standardized and norm-referenced assessments of nonverbal intelligence, word reading, language, as well as hearing and articulation screenings.Results: The language classroom screen showed acceptable classification accuracy for identifying children at risk forDLD overall(sensitivity = 88% and specificity = 52%). The literacy classroom screen showed acceptable classification accuracy for identifying children at risk for dyslexiaoverall(sensitivity = 81% and specificity = 63%). Conclusion: Whole-classroom screens for language and literacy show potential for efficient identification of children who may benefit from comprehensive assessments for DLD and dyslexia without relying on their parents or teachers to raise concerns.Further, using a whole-classroom screener that can be administered to a large group of children simultaneously under 25 minutes versus current educational practice of a 10-15 minute, individually-administered assessment for each student in a classroom would reduce time and financial burdens on school systems which has important implications for recent U.S. legislation around early identification of dyslexia in all children.

Field/subject: Physical/Occupational Therapy & Speech Language Pathology

Parent Storybook Reading Trainings and Their Effects on Early Literacy Acquisition

Morgan K. Anderson

Early access and exposure to literacy promotes language development and is essential to future academic success. When caregivers and toddlers engage in shared storybook reading, children are exposed to a variety of language experiences. One way to provide a rich language-literacy experience is to incorporate all essential layers of language (e.g. word meaning, sentence structure, principles of sound) simultaneously in a structured way to facilitate language and literacy acquisition. The focus of the Promoting Language Literacy Acquisition-Interaction in Youth (PLLAY) Lab is to identify ways to improve caregiver-child interactions to support early literacy experiences. We know that not only the number of words toddlers are exposed to, but also the types of words used by caregivers and the frequency toddlers interact with books matter in language and literacy acquisition. We also know caregiver-child shared storybook experiences have a substantial impact on language and literacy development for toddlers, which helps prepare them for entry into elementary school. Members of the PLLAY Lab will host a six-week caregiver training program to modeling interactive storybook reading with caregiver-child dyads. The aim of our training program is to provide and model known best practices in interactive shared storybook reading for caregivers using a multilinguistic structured literacy approach. Our poster will give the available results of the changes made in the types of words used and the frequency words were said by the caregiver-child dyad during interactive storybook reading following our training program. We will draw conclusions on the benefits of caregiver-child training on toddler’s language and literacy outcomes. These conclusions can inform future caregiver trainings using multilinguistic structured literacy approaches during shared storybook reading to increase language and literacy skills needed to support academic readiness.

Similarities and Differences between French and Universal Consonant Acquisition

Shafer Higgins
Madison Hinshaw

Consonant acquisition refers to the developmental process of learning to use individual consonants sounds in spoken communication. A consonant is “acquired” when a child can produce it accurately and independently. Each language has its own unique progression of consonants that are acquired by native speakers as they develop linguistically. In the ongoing process of comparing consonant acquisition across languages, many universal patterns have emerged. However, discrepancies exist between these universal patterns of consonant acquisition and the progression of consonant acquisition in individual languages. Speech-language assessments use the consonant acquisition of individual children as one of the benchmarks to identify those who diverge from typical linguistic development. It is therefore imperative that clinicians have an accurate picture of the typical progression of consonant acquisition of their client’s native language. The purpose of our study is to compare and contrast the acquisition of consonants in French to universal patterns of consonant acquisition to provide a clearer benchmark for speech-language clinicians working with francophone clients. Our method is a descriptive analysis comparing studies of French consonant acquisition to the universal patterns laid out in the article ‘Children’s Consonant Acquisition in 27 Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Review’ by Sharynne McLeod and Kathryn Crowe. The significance of our study is to highlight the similarities and differences between French and universal consonant acquisition. The clinical implications and potential sources of biases will be discussed.

Understanding the Perceptions of Threats and Risks People have Towards Wildlife

Paige King, University of Montana

Human-wildlife interactions occur in an array of settings. In Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas, a major issue is visitors approaching wildlife. This is a concern for the safety of visitors and wildlife, visitor experience, and preservation of natural and cultural values of the National Park. The goal of the study is to understand the thought process behind trying to approach wildlife. Knowing the threats and the potentials risks of approaching wildlife generally influences decision making when encountering wildlife. Emotional connections people have regarding wildlife may also have a significant impact on their decision-making process. Visitors are likely to have encounters with wildlife in the backcountry, on the road, pullouts, and designated walking trails. Continued education is essential to inform visitors about the consequences of approaching wildlife and ensuring safety. Not all visitors surveyed knew the correct distance they should be away from wildlife. Park staff continues to provide education and enforce park rules and safety measures. Information (brochures/maps/signs) regarding safe distances are provided by the park to help protect wildlife and increase visitor awareness. For this study surveys have been distributed in Gardiner, Montana to individuals who have visited Yellowstone National Park.

Wildfire and Community Resilience

Lily P. Lang, University of Montana

Wildfire is becoming an increasing topic of concern across the United States and other parts of the world. As the fire season length and size of fires increases, there is a concern of how communities will be able to adapt and live with wildfire on the landscape. Each ecosystem will adapt differently to the increase in fire across the landscape. Along with ecosystems, communities are part of these ecosystems and will need to adjust as well. My project focuses on the social and ecological resilience of fire-prone landscapes and how people have been affected by wildfire in their communities. Through facilitated group discussions, I was able to listen and collect qualitative data from community members in the Methow Valley, WA, and the Bitterroot Valley, MT, about their experiences with wildfire. These data from the group discussions help to i) articulate the realities of how people are impacted by wildfire, not only how they are impacted negatively but how wildfire allows for growth in communities; ii) the generation of new ideas about how communities can be more resilient to wildfire through collaboration; iii) demonstrating to themselves and others that this is an important issue and people want to invest in resilience; iv) but also acknowledging that there is still some disconnect between the community members and how they would like their community to work towards resiliency.