Augmentative and alternative communication methods in locked-in syndrome
Sinikka Söderholm, Monica Meinander, Hannu Alaranta
Locked-in syndrome is a neurological condition due to a brain disease or an injury affecting the brain stem. The symptoms are tetraplegia, double-sided facial paresis, anarthria/dysarthrophonia, dysphagia and reactive involuntary laughing and crying. Vertical eye movements are the only commonly remaining voluntary motor function. Although the linguistic abilities as well as intellectual and emotional functions as a whole remain intact, all the motor abilities of self expression are lost. Seventeen chronic locked-in syndrome patients referred to Ka¨pyla¨ Rehabilitation Centre between 1979-2000 are reported. The multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team developed an individual alternative communication method for all patients and trained them to use it by minor movements of e.g. thumb, chin or head. An alternative communication method enabled most of the patients to interact with other people using practical as well as theoretical thinking and decision making.
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