Session 2

Friday 4th November 2016

Change of plan as I had come across Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) during the week and was desperate to try it. From the videos I had watched, I gathered that the words to work on are taken partly from the conversation that occurred naturally and partly from target words. My target words were the names of Phil and Janet’s grown-up children, Hannah and John, names he had struggled to remember the previous week. Other words that cropped up during conversation were ‘tree’, ‘Bert’ (Phil’s grandfather) and the colours of the rainbow. We also worked on ‘Janet’ as he could remember that ‘she’s lovely’ but couldn’t remember her name.

I asked Janet if we could use the dining room this week so that we could sit around the table and it made it easier to tap Phil’s hand and to have him tap the table during the process. I started by humming the pattern of notes, using the minor 3rd interval to fit with ‘Her name’s Hannah’ and then put the words in. I noticed that during the humming, Phil actually said the word ‘hum’. He seemed happier to be repeating the actual target word rather than humming. What I realised after a while of Phil not being able to get the ‘Her name’s -’ part, was that the contraction was making it sound like a strange word. When I changed it slightly to ‘Her name is Hannah’ he managed it better.

An even better idea to try next week is to not worry about making it a sentence; when this technique is used for victims of stroke or trauma, the long-term plan is one of recovery where language can be reclaimed. Because of the progressively degenerative nature of LPA, recovery is not an option; what we’re trying to do is to maintain the links between ideas and words for as long as possible. So ‘Daughter, Hannah’ might be a better approach.

As other conversation took place – Phil talked a lot and explained pretty clearly about the art session he had been to that morning – I returned every now and again to the question, ‘ What’s your daughter called?’ ‘What’s your son called?’ and if he couldn’t remember we repeated the MIT process.

The session lasted an hour and just before I left I asked him again and he fluently recalled the names of Hannah, John, Bert and Janet. In terms of Phil’s well-being, could it be regarded as a ‘success’ that he remembered the names of his family for that short period of time?