Authors: Lancioni GE, O'Reilly MF, Singh NN, Buonocunto F, Sacco V, Colonna F, Navarro J, Lanzilotti C, Megna G
Title: Post-coma persons with minimal consciousness and motor disabilities learn to use assistive communication technology to seek environmental stimulation
Source: Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 2010 22(2): 119-129
Year: 2010
Research Design: Single Case Design

This study assessed whether two post-coma persons with minimally conscious state and extensive motor disabilities would learn to use assistive communication technology, namely microswitches, to gain access to preferred environmental stimuli. Each of the participants (adults) was provided with two microswitches that could be activated with small motor responses (e.g., finger movements and eyelid raising). The microswitches were introduced in succession according to a multiple probe design across microswitches/responses and allowed access to different sets of stimuli (i.e., recordings of songs and video-clips). Eventually, the use of the two microswitches was alternated within and across days. Each participant learned to use both microswitches successfully and maintained high levels of responding when the microswitches were alternated. The importance of assistive communication technology within programs for post-coma persons with disorders of consciousness and extensive motor disabilities is discussed.

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