Post-coma persons emerging from a minimally conscious state with multiple disabilities make technology-aided phone contacts with relevant partners
SourceResearch in Developmental Disabilities, 34, 10, (2013), pp. 3190-3196
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Research in Developmental Disabilities
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Post-coma individuals emerging from a minimally conscious state with multiple disabilities may enjoy contact with relevant partners (e.g., family members and friends), but may not have easy access to them. These two single-case studies assessed whether those individuals could make contact with partners through computer-aided telephone technology and enjoy such contact. The technology involved a computer system with special software, a global system for mobile communication modem (GSM), and microswitch devices. In Study I, the computer system presented a 23-year-old man the names of the partners that he could contact, one at a time, automatically. Together with each partner's name, the system also presented the voice of the partner asking the man Whether he wanted to call him or her. The man could (a) place a call to that partner by activating a camera-based microswitch through mouth movements or (b) bypass that partner and wait for the next one to be presented. In Study II, the system presented a 36-year-old man the partners' names only after he had activated his wobble microswitch with a hand movement. The man could place a call or bypass a partner as in Study I. The results showed that both men (a) were able to contact relevant partners through the technology, (b) seemed to enjoy their telephone-mediated communication contacts with the partners, and (c) showed preferences among the partners. Implications of the findings are discussed.
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