Western Aphasia

Western Aphasia Battery, WAB-R, What does Western Aphasia battery test?, How long does the Western Aphasia battery last?

The Western Aphasia Battery - Revised (WAB-R) is a valuable assessment tool that is commonly used by speech-language pathologists working with adult clients who have aphasia.

The assessment, which is the most commonly used comprehensive aphasia test, assesses the language skills of adults who experience acquired neurological disorders as a result of events such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.

The  Western Aphasia Battery assesses both verbal and nonverbal language, including the following communication modalities: reading, writing, listening, speech, and gestures.  Administering the test allows SLPs to identify and classify aphasia, and determine the severity of the disorder. It can also be used to measure outcomes of speech therapy intervention.

In this guide to the Western Aphasia Battery - Revised (WAB-R), we’ll discuss the components of the assessment, instructions for administration, clinical applications of the test, and more helpful information.

Components of the WAB-R

The  Western Aphasia Battery can be administered to individuals between the ages of 18 to 90 years.

The full battery consists of 8 subtests (32 short tasks), which are outlined here, as listed through Pearson Assessments:

Bedside screening tool record form

  • Spontaneous speech: Content
  • Spontaneous speech: Fluency
  • Auditory Verbal Comprehension: Yes/No Questions
  • Sequential Commands
  • Repetition
  • Object Naming
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Apraxia (optional)

Part 1

  • Spontaneous Speech: Conversational Questions, Picture Description
  • Auditory Verbal Comprehension: Yes/No Questions, Auditory Word Recognition, Sequential Commands
  • Repetition
  • Naming and Word Finding: Object Naming, Word Fluency, Sentence Completion, Responsive Speech

Part 2: Supplemental

  • Reading: Comprehension of Sentences, Reading Commands, Written Word-Object Choice Matching, Written Word-Picture Choice Matching, Picture-Written Word Choice Matching, Spoken Word-Written Word Choice Matching, Letter Discrimination, Spelled Word Recognition, Spelling
  • Writing: Writing Upon Request, Writing Output, Writing to Dictation, Writing Dictated Words, Alphabet and Numbers, Dictated Letters and Numbers, Copying a Sentence
  • Apraxia
  • Constructional, Visuospatial, and Calculation: Drawing, Block Design, Calculation, Raven's Coloured Supplemental Writing and Reading:


The  Western Aphasia Battery complete set includes record forms, a Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices test booklet, and a set of manipulatives.

The manipulatives include the following items: cup, comb, flower, matches, screwdriver, 4 Koh’s blocks, watch, hammer, telephone, ball, knife, safety pin, toothbrush, eraser, padlock, key, paperclip, rubber band, spoon, tape, and fork. The clinician will also need to have unlined paper and a pencil available for the client to use.

Administration of the Western Aphasia Battery

The full battery takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. It takes an additional 45 to 60 minutes to complete the reading, writing, praxis, and constructions sections of the test. There is a bedside test that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

The WAB-R can be administered by using paper forms or with Q-global digital assets (such as in telepractice).  To administer the test, the clinician should follow the administration guidelines that are provided in the WAB-R test manual.

For example, to administer the Conversational Questions section within Subtest 1. Spontaneous Speech, the clinician will ask the client to verbally respond to 6 personal questions. To administer the Writing on Request section within Subtest 2: Writing, the clinician will ask the client to write down their name and address.

Clinical application of the Western Aphasia Battery

The Western Aphasia Battery - Revised is a valuable tool for SLPs to assess, plan treatment, and monitor progress of clients with aphasia.

The WAB-R is a comprehensive standardized assessment that can be used by therapists to classify the type and severity of aphasia in clients. Identifying the specific type of aphasia (such as Broca’s aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia, or global aphasia) that a client is experiencing provides critical information that should be used to develop an individualized, appropriate treatment plan.

The assessment results provide a representation of the client’s specific linguistic and nonlinguistic skills, such as auditory comprehension, reading, writing, and speech fluency. This allows the therapist to report on these skills in an evaluation.

SLPs can use the WAB-R to obtain a detailed profile of the client’s language abilities, including their strengths and areas of difficulty. This information can then be used to select appropriate treatment goals, strategies, and interventions to incorporate into speech therapy.

For example, if the client demonstrates difficulties with auditory comprehension, his or her treatment plan may include exercises and strategies to improve these skills at the level they show difficulties at.

The WAB-R can also be utilized for monitoring the progress of individuals receiving speech therapy intervention to improve deficits experienced due to aphasia. Re-administering the WAB-R at regular intervals over time allows speech-language pathologists to assess changes in the client’s language abilities over time.

These periodic re-administrations of the test provide an objective measurement of treatment outcomes in speech therapy.

Start 30-day Free Trial and explore TheraPlatform. HIPAA Compliant Video and Practice Management Software for Therapists.

Limitations and critiques of the Western Aphasia Battery 

While the Western Aphasia Battery, Revised (WAB-R) has been reported as the most commonly used aphasia assessment, all standardized assessments have limitations to consider.

One limitation of the WAB-R is that the test primarily addresses language abilities and may not identify certain cognitive deficits that an individual is experiencing. The SLP can consider administering another test to assess these skills.

Another possible limitation to consider is that due to the WAB-R being based on standardized tasks, the results may not represent the functional impact of aphasia on activities of daily living specific to the client. The test is typically administered in a controlled environment that is free from distractions typically experienced in real-world situations.

To address this critique, speech-language pathologists can conduct a thorough case history and interview with the client and relevant family members. Through this, the SLP can obtain information about the individual’s specific functional communication deficits and areas of need.

Integration with other assessment tools

Speech therapists can integrate the WAB-R with other assessment tools to provide a comprehensive assessment of the client’s speech, language, and cognitive skills.

To assess cognitive skills such as executive function or attention more in depth, SLPs may consider administering another assessment such as the Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test Plus (CLQT+).

Non-standardized assessment measures such as analysis of language skills during an interaction and conversation or naturalistic observation can provide an additional representation of the client’s skills.

Future directions in aphasia assessment

Future directions in aphasia assessment are likely to involve the development and utilization of more functional measures that represent the real-life communication abilities and needs of individuals with aphasia.

This includes the use of virtual assessment tools to provide comprehensive, objective data on an individual’s cognitive and language abilities. A continuously increased focus on the client’s perspective and priorities is also likely to be included in aphasia assessments in the future.

The Western Aphasia Battery - Revised (WAB-R) is a comprehensive assessment tool that can be used to classify and determine the severity of aphasia in individuals who have experienced a neurological impact, such as through a stroke or TBI.

It’s critical for speech-language pathologists who provide therapy to clients with aphasia to make continued professional growth a priority. Researching and utilizing appropriate assessment methods can improve the efficacy of the therapy they provide. Through this, SLPs can improve the daily functioning and overall wellbeing of individuals experiencing aphasia.


Therapists can use TheraPlatform, an all-in-one EHR, practice management and teletherapy tool to seamlessly integrate language assessments into their practice. Consider starting with a free trial of TheraPlatform today. No credit card required. Cancel anytime.


Kertesz, A. (2022). The Western Aphasia Battery: a systematic review of research and clinical applications. Aphasiology. 36(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2020.1852002

More resources
Free video classes

Practice Management, EHR/EMR and Teletherapy Platform

Exclusive therapy apps and games

Start 30 Day FREE TRIAL
CAAP, CAAP-2 , CAAP test, Clinical Assessment of Articulation and Phonology, 2nd Edition

The Clinical Assessment of Articulation and Phonology, 2nd Edition (CAAP-2) is a tool for articulation and phonology. Learn how to apply CAAP-2 as an SLP.

speech therapy assessments, assessments for speech therapy
Speech therapy assessments

Speech therapy assessments can prepare clinicians for selecting and administering test instruments during evaluation. Discover new tests for your practice.

Subscribe to our newsletter