OBJECTIVE. Occupational therapists are routinely involved in upper-extremity rehabilitation in persons with stroke. Recently we have reported that self-speech can be used to facilitate simple reach in young and older adults. The purpose of this study is to examine whether self-speech-induced facilitation of simple reach can be translated in persons with stroke.
METHOD. Following a counterbalanced repeated-measure design, seven persons with right brain stroke performed reaching and placing a glass on a cabinet shelf under four concurrent speech conditions of vocalizing the word “yeah” with both hemiplegic and nonhemiplegic sides. These four conditions are self-vocalization, external vocalization, imaginary vocalization, and no vocalization. Consistent with our previous study, in this study we also recorded the movement kinematics of angular movement of the upper arm.
RESULTS. Reaching velocity was significantly higher under self-vocalization conditions compared to the reaching velocity under no vocalization or other vocalization conditions (p < .05). Motor performance in terms of velocity, nonhemiparetic side was significantly better than hemiparetic side (p < .05).
CONCLUSION. The results suggest that self-speech can be used in facilitating movements in patients with stroke. When working with patients with right hemispheric stroke, therapists might explore possibilities of using patient’s self-speech to enhance the quality of movement performance.