How To Do Naming Therapy for Aphasia

Naming therapy is a tried and true treatment for aphasia.

In this article, you’ll learn how to do confrontational naming, responsive naming, and divergent naming, to name (pun-intended) a few.

For patient-friendly aphasia treatment activities, protocols, goal banks, and much more, check out the Adult Speech Therapy Starter Pack!

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What is Naming Therapy for Aphasia?

naming therapy for aphasia

A hallmark sign of aphasia is anomia, or difficulty naming. Thankfully, simple strategies can improve a person’s naming abilities.

Below we’ll cover 6 naming therapies, with instructions and examples of how to do each. Consider adding written prompts, as recent research has shown them to be a predictor of naming therapy success (Sze, 2021).

Read Semantic Feature Analysis for more on word retrieval treatment for aphasia.

Picture Cards for Naming Therapy

Download the free Naming Photos & Visual Scenes PDF to use during naming therapy.

1. Confrontational Naming (Object Naming)

Confrontational Naming for aphasia

Confrontational naming means naming the object you’re looking at.

Use physical objects in the environment or download the Picture Cards for this activity.

To begin a confrontational naming task: Point to an object or show the patient a picture card. Then ask, “What is the name of this?” or “What is this?”

For example, point to a:

  1. Chair
  2. Tissue
  3. Sink
  4. Blanket
  5. Water bottle
  6. Table
  7. Window
  8. Pen
  9. Book
  10. Light

2. Responsive Naming

what is responsive naming?

Responsive naming means naming based on hearing or reading its definition.

To begin a responsive naming task: Read sentences aloud or have the patient read them. Ask, “What thing am I describing?” or “What am I talking about?” They may say or write the answer.

For example.

  1. This is a hot beverage that is typically drunk in the morning and has caffeine. (Coffee)
  2. This is an animal known as a “man’s best friend” and it barks. (Dog)
  3. This is a fruit that is yellow and eaten by monkeys. (Banana)
  4. This is a vehicle that flies and can transport a lot of people at once. (Airplane)

3. Convergent Naming (Category Naming)

convergent naming

Convergent naming means naming the category that a group of objects belongs to.

To begin convergent naming treatment: Read a set of related words aloud or ask your patient to read them. Ask them, “What group/category do these belong to?” They may say or write the answer.

For example, ask them to name the following categories:

  1. Dog, cat, bird, horse. (Animal)
  2. Boat, car, train, airplane. (Vehicle)
  3. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cherry. (Flavors)
  4. Chair, desk, couch, table. (Furniture)
  5. Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Texas. (States)

4. Divergent Naming (Category Naming)

divergent naming for aphasia

Divergent naming means naming a list of things that belong in a certain category.

To begin divergent naming treatment: State a category and ask the patient to name a certain number of items that belong in that category, usually within a short time limit. They may write them or say the answer aloud.

For example, ask them to name 3 items in the following categories:

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Flowers
  4. Furniture
  5. States
  6. Cities
  7. Dairy products
  8. Animals
  9. Occupations
  10. Modes of transportation

5. Cued Naming (Phonological or Semantic Cueing)

phonological cueing aphasia

Cued naming means providing a cue, usually a phonological (speech sound) or semantic cue (related words or descriptions), to help the patient correctly name the target.

Use Picture Cards with this activity, then provide either a written or verbal cue with the pictured object.

For example, provide picture cards and the following phonemic cues:

  1. “It starts with /b/” for the target “ball”
  2. “It starts with /w/” for the target “window”
  3. “It starts with /g/” for the target “glasses”

For semantic cues:

  1. “You throw it” or “You kick it around a soccer field” for the target “ball”
  2. “It’s like a door” or “It’s made of glass and you can open it” for the target “window”
  3. “You use them to see better” or “The optometrist made them for you” for the target “glasses”

6. Sentence Formation

sentence formation aphasia

Sentence formation means naming (usually a noun) and then using that name in a sentence.

You can use Picture Cards for this activity: Choose a picture, ask your patient to name it, and then ask them to use the word in a sentence.

You may also choose verbs and adjectives for more of a challenge.

For example, use picture cards and the following cues:

  1. “What is the name of this?”…house…..“Great, now use it in a sentence.”…I live in a house.
  2. “What is the name of this?”….sidewalk….“Good, now use it in a sentence.”….I walk on a sidewalk.
  3. “What is the name of this?”….cat…. “Ok, now use it in a sentence.”…I have a cat at home.

Aphasia Worksheets

The Adult Speech Therapy Starter Pack has dozens of aphasia treatment activities that progress with your patients—from severe to mild expressive and receptive aphasia.

Plus you’ll find word webs, communication partner handouts, AAC boards, a goal bank, and much much more.

The best part of The Starter Pack? Patients report that the activities are empowering and fun!

Visit our shop to learn more.


  • Caute, A., Pring, T., Cocks, N., Cruice, M., Best, W., & Marshall, J. (2013). Enhancing Communication Through Gesture and Naming Therapy.
  • Marshall, J., Best, W., Cocks, N., Cruice, M., Pring, T., Bulcock, G., Creek, G., Eales, N., Mummery, A. L., Matthews, N., & Caute, A. (2012). Gesture and Naming Therapy for People With Severe Aphasia: A Group Study.
  • Sze, W. P., Hameau, S., et al. (2021). Identifying the components of a successful spoken naming therapy: A meta-analysis of word-finding interventions for adults with aphasia. Aphasiology, 35(1), 33-72.
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