American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) assess people with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) through measurements of speech, language, communication, and well-being, with the aims of identifying challenges and strengths, monitoring change, and informing treatment directions and supports. The purpose of this clinical focus article is to highlight the necessity for person-centered assessment specific to PPA and to conceptualize a framework that acknowledges the multifaceted nature of assessment for this population. In this framework, the unique challenges posed by a diagnosis of PPA are addressed with the aim to provide practical guidance for clinicians and to support reflection on current practices. Method: In clinical and research practice, assessment of people with PPA requires an ever-evolving approach that is centered on the client. In this clinical focus article, a discussion-based consensus process was used to synthesize authentic longitudinal experiences of people with PPA to explore assessment approaches, tools, and philosophies. Results: This analysis of person-centered assessment identifies seven essential components of assessment in PPA that set the foundation for the five steps of the R.A.I.S.E. Assessment framework. These components each contribute to a clear definition of assessment that reveals clients' competencies with a strengths-based focus; prioritizes the reciprocity of benefits; promotes dynamic assessment; and recognizes the complexity, evolution of assessment over time, and advocacy. Conclusions: This clinical focus article takes a novel look at assessment in PPA by stepping away from assessment practices that focus on revealing deficits and decline and, instead, provides practical recommendations through the conceptualization of a PPA-specific assessment framework. The R.A.I.S.E. Assessment framework is grounded in principles of uplifting clients through person-centered assessment, keeps pace with best practice in PPA intervention, and contributes to a supportive experience for clients and families in the face of a progressive diagnosis over time.
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