The Role of Augmentative Communication Devices in the Medical Management of ALSBy Brownlee, Alisa; Palovcak, Merisa; NeuroRehabilitation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 22, pp. 445-450
Publication Date: 2007
Overview of the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for people with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (PALS). The progression of speech disturbance in PALS is discussed. A retrospective study is cited showing that of 100 hospice patients with ALS, 75% were unable to speak understandably during the terminal stage of the illness. Distinction is made between augmentative, i.e. supplemental, communication systems for people with dysarthria (limited use of speech due to difficulty articulating words), and alternative communication for anarthrics (people with no ability to speak). AAC options for PALS discussed include no technology such as handwriting, low technology such as letter- or picture boards, and high-technology options including voice-output communication devices and computers. The process of obtaining an electronic communication device is outlined, including evaluation by a team lead by an American Speech and Hearing Association certified speech pathologist, to comply with Medicare reimbursement guidelines. Factors in PALS’ resistance to AAC are discussed, such as depression and physical pain. Benefits of AAC for PALS elucidated are improved relationships, increased participation in family and community life, and a greater sense of independence.
Published by: IOS Press (Website:http://www.iospress.nl)