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From the Editors

From the Editors

Considering Principles of Learning in the Treatment of Acquired Communication Disorders

Section Editor(s): Wallace, Sarah E. PhD; Co-Editor; Troia, Gary A. PhD; Co-Editor

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000207
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“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence” Abigail Adams (as cited in Barker-Benfield, 2010)

In a letter to John Quincy Adams on May 8, 1780, Abigail Adams captures some of the essential elements to learning. Throughout this issue of Topics in Language Disorders, the authors share information about other essential elements of learning and its application to interventions for people with acquired communication disorders. Issue editor, Dr Sofia Vallila-Rohter, developed this issue “Considering Principles of Learning in the Treatment of Acquired Communication Disorders” and invited authors to write a variety of articles related to the topics of learning. The authors explore concussion from a life span perspective across multiple rehabilitation phases to provide readers with information about short- and long-term effects of concussion.

First, Wright, Sohlberg, Watson-Stites, and McCart (2020) explore multidisciplinary team services provided to students experiencing cognitive effects after concussion through a series of case examples. Their review of retrospective data aligns well with current understanding of concussion risk factors and provides insight into speech-language pathology practices in concussion treatment in adolescents after concussion. Next, Middleton, Schuchard, and Rawson (2020) review the literature related to distributed practice and highlight specific information regarding key findings from psychology research on learning and memory. Next, Silkes, Baker, and Love (2020) investigate learning in aphasia through examination of semantic and repetition priming effects. These findings have implications for the design of and dosage assigned for aphasia therapy programs. Similarly, Coran, Rodriguez-Fornells, Ramos-Escobar, Martin, and Laine (2020) evaluate a therapy program for four participants with aphasia in a preliminary examination including structural connectivity analyses and a novel word learning task. Finally, Vallila-Rohter and Czupryna (2020) provide findings from an investigation of attention allocation using eye tracking during a category learning task performed by people with aphasia. The results suggest some potential additional processing time or trails needed by people with aphasia during similar clinical therapy tasks.

In summary, the authors of this issue provide guidance to professionals designing therapy programs for individuals with acquired communication disorders. Furthermore, the articles provide considerations for theoretical development and provoke ideas about how learning theories and therapy tasks intersect.

—Sarah E. Wallace, PhD


—Gary A. Troia, PhD



Barker-Benfield G. J. (2010). Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of sensibility (p 313). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Coran M., Rodriguez-Fornells A., Ramos-Escobar N, Martin N., Laine M. (2020). Word learning in aphasia: Treatment implications and structural connectivity analyses. Topics in Language Disorders, 40(1), 81–109.
Middleton E., Schuchard J., Rawson K. (2020). A review of the application of distributed practice principles to naming treatment in aphasia. Topics in Language Disorders, 40(1), 36–53.
Silkes J., Baker C., Love T. (2020). The time course of primary in aphasia: An exploration of learning along a continuum of linguistic processing demands. Topics in Language Disorders, 40(1), 54–80.
Vallila-Rohter S., Czupryna B. (2020). Investigating attentional allocation with eye tracking during category learning in people with aphasia. Topics in Language Disorders, 40(1), 110–123.
Wright J., Sohlberg M. M., Watson-Stites R., McCart M. (2020). Identification of key therapy ingredients for SLPs serving on multidisciplinary teams facilitating return to learn for students with prolonged cognitive effects after concussion: A retrospective case series analysis. Topics in Language Disorders, 40(1), 6–35.
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