Semantic Processing and Word Finding Difficulty Across the Lifespan: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists

First Edition

Pei-Fang Hung, Lei Sun

Details: 452 pages, B&W, Softcover, 6" x 9"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-194-0

© 2022 | Available

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For readers looking to understand lexical access and word-finding difficulty (WFD), Semantic Processing and Word Finding Difficulty Across the Lifespan: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists provides a comprehensive review of current research and clinical approaches to establish a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of lexical access and retrieval difficulty across different communication disorders. By including practical guidelines and protocols, this professional text can help speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other related professionals bridge the gap between research and clinical practice.

This text covers a wide range of communication disorders, including developmental language disorder, autism spectrum disorder, aphasia, normal aging, and dementia. It illustrates the connections between the research evidence and clinical practice and addresses lexical learning and retrieval difficulty through a holistic lens and cognitive-linguistic frameworks. This text integrates research evidence from a variety of disciplines, including speech-language pathology, linguistics, neuroscience, and psychology. The authors take readers for a deep dive into different underlying problems that lead to lexical access and retrieval difficulty and strategies to remediate them effectively. By addressing lexical issues from a broader view, this unique resource helps readers see the connections from different perspectives to further understand the complex issues involved in lexical learning and retrieval.

Key Features

  • A discussion of lexical learning and expansion from birth to school-age by incorporating metalinguistic skills and considering the relationships between language domains. 
  • An exploration of contributing factors to lexical learning and word retrieval.   
  • A holistic review of standardized and nonstandard measures for the breadth and depth of lexical access and retrieval across the lifespan and for people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • A comprehensive review of current available evidence-based and semantic-focused interventions for both developmental and neurogenic communication disorders. 
  • Chapter summaries and discussion questions close each chapter.
  • Clinical implication sections help connect research to clinical practice. 
  • Therapy plan examples for commonly implemented lexical intervention approaches.
  • A PluralPlus companion website with printable versions of the forms in the book


“This book reviews semantic processing and word retrieval difficulties using current research and clinical approaches. The authors describe these difficulties as being on a continuum from both developmental and acquired perspectives, and they intend for the book to serve as a practical guide. Supplemental printable materials are available through Plural Publishing's companion website. 
The purpose of the book is to provide the connection between the theoretical and clinical practice of lexicon development and retrieval difficulties. The book addresses a wide range of communication disorders that affect children and adults. As a practical guide for speech-language pathologists, it provides a very comprehensive view of word-finding difficulties that affect individuals of all ages. 
The intended audience is practicing speech-language pathologists as well as those studying to join the field. The book will also be of interest to educators and other professionals who work with children and/or adults who ‘struggle with lexical learning and retrieval.’ 
The book is divided into 10 chapters. The first two chapters cover an introduction to lexicon, lexical production models, and related neural networks. Chapters 3 and 4 cover the development of a person's lexicon from the prelinguistic stage to adolescence. Chapter 5 focuses on acquired language disorders in adults and the deficits that affect word retrievals. Chapter 6 provides information on different populations. Chapter 7 focuses on assessment and is then followed by two chapters on therapeutic approaches. The last chapter focuses on semantic processing in bilingual individuals. The chapters are well organized and provide information to develop readers' understanding of the topic. Each chapter ends with a chapter summary and discussion questions for those wanting to continue their learning on the subject. 
This book offers a comprehensive view into an area of communication disorders that appear across the lifespan. Unlike other books that focus on overall communication disorders, this book focuses on one specific area, enabling readers to truly understand the subject. The book can be used by practicing clinicians as well as in the graduate-level classroom.”

–Yvana Uranga-Hernandez, PhD, CCC-SLP, Biola University, from Doody’s Reviews (September 2022)


Chapter 1. Introduction to Lexicon
Lei Sun

Chapter 2. Introduction to Lexical Production Models and Related Neural Network
Pei-Fang Hung

Chapter 3. Early Lexical Development: From Prelinguistic Stage to Toddler
Lei Sun

Chapter 4. Vocabulary Expansion from Preschool and Beyond
Lei Sun

Chapter 5. Variables that Affect Word Retrieval in Adults with Acquired Language Disorders
Kris Brock

Chapter 6. Word Access and Retrieval Difficulty in Different Populations
Lei Sun and Pei-Fang Hung

Chapter 7. Assessment of Lexical Knowledge and Word Production
Lei Sun and Pei-Fang Hung

Chapter 8. Approaches to Facilitate Vocabulary Learning and Word Retrieval in Children 
Lei Sun

Chapter 9. Treatment for Lexical Retrieval in Neurogenic Language Disorders
Pei-Fang Hung

Chapter 10. Semantic Processing Bilinguals
Belinda Daughrity


Pei-Fang Hung

Pei-Fang Hung, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at California State University, Long Beach. Her research interests are aphasia management, neurogenic cognitive-communication disorders, and language impairments related to early dementia. She is a trilingual speech-language pathologist who holds certificates and licenses in both the U.S. and Taiwan and has extensive clinical experience working with people with neurogenic speech and language disorders. 

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Lei Sun

Lei Sun, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Californian State University Long, Beach (CSULB). She was born and raised in Taiwan and completed her BA and MA in Taiwan before changing the career path to become a speech-language pathologist. Dr. Sun speaks Mandarin Chinese as her primary language and is an English language learner. Before joining CSULB in 2011, she was a school-based SLP, primarily working in preschools and elementary schools. Dr. Sun is passionate about developmental language disorders, language-based learning disability, functional speech sound disorders, and multicultural/multilingual issues.

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Purchase of Semantic Processing and Word Finding Difficulty Across the Lifespan: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists comes with access to supplementary materials on a PluralPlus companion website.

To access the materials, you must register the access code printed on the inside front cover of your book on the companion website.

*Note: If you have purchased this book used or have rented it, your access code will not work if it was already redeemed by the original buyer of the book. Plural Publishing does not offer replacement access codes for used or rented books. 

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