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Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):1703-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.02.025. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

Communication opportunities via special messaging technology for two post-coma persons with multiple disabilities.

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Department of Psychology, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


This study extended the assessment of a special messaging technology with two additional post-coma adults who had emerged from a minimally conscious state, but showed multiple disabilities including profound motor and communication impairments. For each participant, the study involved an ABAB design, in which the A represented baseline phases and the B represented intervention phases with the special messaging technology. The technology involved a net-book computer provided with specific software, a global system for mobile communication (GSM) modem, microswitches, and prerecorded verbal lists of persons' names and messages. Both participants learned to send out and receive (listen to) messages independently during the intervention, thus providing clear support for previous data in the area. They sent out means of about three and 17 messages and received means of about two and six messages per 20- and 30-min session, respectively. The positive impact of the technology was discussed in relation to previous data in this area and the possibility of helping post-coma persons with multiple disabilities engage in basic communication with distant partners.

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