Using visual scene displays to create a shared communication space for a person with aphasia

Karen Hux, Megan Buechter, Sarah Wallace, Kristy Weissling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: Low-tech visual scene displays (VSDs) combine contextually rich pictures and written text to support the communication of people with aphasia. VSDs create a shared communication space in which a person with aphasia and a communication partner co-construct messages. Aims: The researchers examined the effect of low-tech VSDs on the content and quality of communicative interactions between a person with aphasia and unfamiliar communication partners. Methods & Procedures: One person with aphasia and nine unfamiliar communication partners engaged in short, one-on-one conversations about a specified topic in one of three conditions: shared-VSDs, non-shared-VSDs, and no-VSDs. Data included dis- course analysis scores reflecting the conceptual complexity of utterances, content unit analyses of information communication partners gathered from the interaction, and Likert-scale responses from the person with aphasia about his perception of communi- cative ease and effectiveness. Outcomes & Results: Comparisons made across conditions revealed: (a) the most con- versational turns occurred in the shared-VSDs condition; (b) communication partners produced utterances with higher conceptual complexity in the shared-VSDs condition; (c) the person with aphasia conveyed the greatest number of content units in the shared- VSDs condition; and (d) the person with aphasia perceived that information transfer, ease of conversational interaction, and partner understanding were best in the shared-VSDs condition. Conclusions: These findings suggest that low-tech VSDs have an impact on the manner and extent to which a person with aphasia and a communication partner contribute to conversational interactions involving information transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-660
Number of pages18
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Aphasia treatment
  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Conversational interaction
  • Visual scene displays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • LPN and LVN


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