Evergreen Rehab Employee Spotlight: Ryan Husak, M.S. CFY-SLP


Ryan Husak, M.S. CFY-SLPRyan Husak received a Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Kentucky (UK) in May 2012. He was introduced to the Evergreen family during clinical rotations, making quite the impression on staff and patients. Per one resident, “He doesn’t act like he knows everything, makes you feel special and that you are doing things right, advancing some.”

In August 2012, he will begin the Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Program at the University of Kentucky. Ryan is interested in clinical research and rehabilitative treatment for adults with aphasia and other acquired neurogenic communication disorders. He has experience in working with adults with communication impairments at a variety of settings, including the University of Kentucky Aphasia Program, University of Kentucky Hospital, Northpoint Healthcare Center, and Royal Manor Nursing Home.

As part of a Master's thesis, Ryan completed a treatment study (described below) involving three participants with chronic non-fluent Broca's aphasia. Findings from this study were presented at the 2012 Clinical Aphasiology Conference poster session and have been accepted as an intermediate level technical research paper for the 2012 ASHA Convention.

Title: Quantifying syntactic effects of Response Elaboration Training

Abstract

Three subjects with Broca’s aphasia received Response Elaboration Training (RET). Treatment effects were quantified with a sentence production task (SPT). Subjects improved the syntactic complexity, accuracy, and content of their sentence productions. Findings suggest RET generalizes to skills not specifically addressed in treatment and support the clinical utility of RET.

Summary

Response Elaboration Training (RET; Kearns, 1985, 1986) is a content-driven treatment for individuals with aphasia. Kearns and colleagues indicate RET’s unique “loose training” paradigm increases the amount of verbal information produced by individuals with non-fluent Broca’s aphasia in response to picture stimuli (Gaddie, Kearns, & Yedor, 1991; Kearns, 1985, 1986; Kearns & Scher, 1989; Kearns & Yedor, 1991; Nessler, 2009), and that in some cases, RET effects generalize to other speaking partners, stimuli, and settings (Bennett, Wambaugh, & Nessler, 2005; Gaddie et al., 1991; Kearns & Yedor, 1991). Little is known about the impact of RET’s loose training procedures on syntactic performance. One reason for this is that RET effects are usually quantified by having the participant describe the pictures without clinician prompts. The use of the picture description task not only makes it difficult to examine changes in syntactic performance, it also limits conclusions that can be drawn about the effectiveness of RET and its generalizability because the same pictures used in treatment are also used to measure its effects. The present study examined the effectiveness and generalizability of RET on speaking performance of individuals with non-fluent Broca’s aphasia with a sentence production task (SPT) that did not provide picture support.

Ryan received two awards for his research project: (1) the 2012 Robinson Graduate Award for Research Creativity and (2) the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)-funded Student Fellowship for the Research Symposium in Clinical Aphasiology (RSCA), 2012. After completing the RHB doctoral program, he plans to conduct research at a university clinic and mentor students in clinical aphasiology.

In his free time, he enjoys playing table tennis, brewing beer, cooking vegetarian, reading, and hanging out with his significant other Amy Staebler.

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