Narrative-based treatment: Telling stories with SentenceShaper

Most treatment studies with SentenceShaper have focused upon one specific protocol: what we’ll call “Narrative-based  SentenceShaper Therapy”, in which people use the program to construct multi-sentence narratives, such as retelling TV shows and movies, or recounting life events. For some people, this is only possible with SentenceShaper. See the section about research with the program, and the publications listed there, for more details.

Some of the program’s  built-in workbooks can be used to practice narratives. The “Personal Speech” workbooks (B1, B2) can be used to help people get started talking about their personal lives, interests, desires, opinions, and memories. The “D” workbooks, which are designed to train “because”-clauses, contain short picture sequences (2-6 pages each). In the B2 workbook, the user is asked to describe each picture and then retell the whole story at the end of the sequence. If you want to practice narratives without focusing on “because” clauses, you can just set the page prompt to NOT play automatically.

Finally, the “Blank pages” workbooks (E1-E3) are good for creating narratives on new topics. There is no picture, and the Cue Buttons along the side of the screen contain words that may be helpful in talking about almost any topic.

One advantage of focusing upon narrative is that you can use SentenceShaper as both a treatment tool and a communication aid, by using the program to create narratives on topics of personal interest and then sharing these narratives — by email, or playing them on an iPad or iPod, or posting them on the Internet as videos (see “Sharing your Speech” for details). This may bring personal satisfaction as well as motivating language practice.