is software designed for the treatment of word production difficulties
in APRAXIA and APHASIA, authored by Rosemary Varley and Sandra Whiteside
at The University of Sheffield.
The SWORD Core Development
Team (from left to right) - Rosemary Varley, Geoff Cookmartin, and
SWORD is an evidence-based therapy
program. In two studies conducted at The University of Sheffield,
Sword resulted in improvements in accuracy and fluency in people
with apraxia and aphasia, with improvements maintained up to 18
weeks after the intervention.
SWORD is available in Professional and Home-user
The Professional version allows the
therapist to introduce new content into the program (e.g., new vocabulary
items, regional variants of speech files), and to alter the programme
default settings in order to create an individually designed therapy
program. The individually tailored version can then be transferred
to a satellite machine. It also permits detailed tracking of user
interactions with the program (e.g., time-on-task, accuracy levels),
and the capacity to print out performance summaries and transfer
recordings of user speech to other applications. The use of SWORD
by multiple users can also be managed centrally within the administration
The Home-user version allows person with speech
impairment to self-administer controlled quality therapy at locations
and times convenient to the user.
Screenshot of the SWORD Main Menu
- SWORD has been designed so that a person with
little previous computer experience can interact with the program.
- SWORD is pre-loaded with a vocabulary of 70
highly functional words. For each vocabulary item, there are associated
high quality images, an audio recording of the word and a video
of a speaker producing the word.
- SWORD is a complete program of therapy. It
allows intervention on a specific vocabulary set and moves from
multi-sensory facilitation of word forms to production. It incorporates
contemporary principles such as sensory-motor interconnectedness,
and error-reducing strategies into the therapy design.
- SWORD trains the generalisation of word production
from repetition, to word production in sentence frames, to independent
- SWORD differs from traditional segment-based
therapies for apraxia of speech. There is currently little evidence
that therapies involving practice of isolated articulatory positions
result in improved speech control in more naturalistic situations.
- SWORD is based on dual-process views of speech
control (e.g., Whiteside & Varley, 1998, Cortex; Varley &
Whiteside, 2001, Aphasiology), which suggest that higher frequency
words are stored as gestalts (vs. by segment-by-segment assembly).
SWORD Minimum system requirements:
Compatible Windows© PC. With CD-ROM drive
Microsoft Windows© 98, SE, Me, 2000, XP or Vista Operating systems.
64mb RAM SVGA 800x600 resolution.
16 bit colour display or higher.
Soundblaster compatible soundcard.
External speakers recommended.