Authors: Bier N, Paquette G, Macoir J
Title: Smartphone for smart living: Using new technologies to cope with everyday limitations in semantic dementia
Source: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 2018 28(5): 734-754
Year: 2018
Research Design: Single Case Design

New technologies have considerable potential to support people with semantic dementia-a form of progressive aphasia-in their everyday lives, but evidence is still sparse. The first objective of the study was to document day-to-day compensation strategies, including the use of a smartphone, in ND, a 56-year-old man with semantic dementia. The second objective was to explore if, 5 years after receiving his diagnosis, ND could still learn new smartphone functions. Results for objective 1 showed that ND had adopted a large number of compensation mechanisms in his everyday life, and expanded the use of one application he had learned 4 years earlier. Results for objective 2 showed that, with an errorless learning approach, he learnt to effectively use 10 smartphone functions. He was also able to verbalise semantic knowledge about those functions and still used 40% of them in daily life 6 months post-intervention. He particularly appreciated note-taking, and spontaneously expanded his abilities in using this function's features in order to reduce his semantic difficulties. This study shows the potential of new mobile technologies for semantic dementia, how they can be adapted and modified as the disease progresses, and how some patients can creatively use external technological aids.

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