A preliminary version of a naming test for the visually impaired geriatric

Judith Elaine Alexander (1991)

One of the most prominent disorders of language is aphasia. Much research has been devoted to the study and assessment of aphasia. One of the identified areas that falls within the larger constellation of aphasia is that of word-finding difficulty or dysnomia. Currently, the most efficient method for testing word-finding deficits is to provide stimuli consisting of pictures of common nouns that are identified by the individual. The most common naming tests available that assess word-finding abilities require that the individual possess the ability to process visual information. Thus, many individuals who require an evaluation of their naming skills are denied access to the information provided from these tests because they are visually impaired. The aim of this dissertation was to develop a standardized naming test for the visually impaired geriatric population. The test stimuli were presented to the individual by means of tactile stimulation, rather than the more typical visual modality. The development of a naming test for the visually impaired geriatric consisted of several phases. First, 39 common household items were selected and randomly placed on the test protocol. Each individual tested was screened for astereognosis (i.e., the inability to recognize objects by touch). Once astereognosis was ruled-out, an item analysis was completed by utilizing the test data of 100 test subjects. Criterion related validity was established by comparing the results of this test to the results of the Boston Naming Test. The item analysis resulted in the determination of a difficulty factor for each test item. The next phase consisted of the creation of a 30 item naming test consisting of 15 items paired by their difficulty factor. These test items were placed on the test protocol in order of ascending difficulty. This naming test was standardized on two geriatric categories, ages 65 to 74 and 75 and over. Overall, norms were determined by a sample size of 57 comprising the two geriatric age categories. Internal reliability was determined through a split-half estimate. The development of a naming test for the visually impaired geriatric population is important since there is currently no naming test readily available that can adequately test those patients that are visually impaired.