Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication Sciences and Disorders


Dr. Joseph B. Orange

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Strong

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Adams


Selective verb impairment on discourse tasks exist in individuals with aphasia, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and primary progressive aphasia. No research to date has examined verb use in individuals with ALS on discourse tasks. The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of verb impairment in individuals with ALS for discourse tasks, including the Cookie Theft Picture description task from the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination and a topic directed interview (TDI).The ALS and control participants did not differ significantly on the total number of verbs, regular and irregular verb production on both the tasks. However, ALS participants were significantly different compared to control participants on the number of places of verb argument production for the picture description task. The ALS participants produced fewer Obligatory 3 place, Optional 2 place and Optional 3 place verb arguments than controls. The ALS participants and controls did not differ significantly on the number of places of verb argument production for the TDI task. In addition, a significant difference in the number of places of verb argument was obtained between the picture description and TDI tasks for ALS participants indicating that verb usage differs according to discourse task. The results of the study indicate verb use problems in the early stages of ALS. Further research across a longitudinal sample is warranted to explore the nature of verb impairment.



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