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Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Sep;34(9):2694-700. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.05.029. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Assistive technology for promoting choice behaviors in three children with cerebral palsy and severe communication impairments.

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Lega del Filo d'Oro Research Center, Molfetta, Italy.


A technology-based program to promote independent choice behaviors by three children with cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities was assessed. The program was based on learning principles and assistive technology (i.e., customized input devices/sensors, personal computers, screening of preferred stimuli according to a binomial criterion). The first purpose of the present study was to provide the participants with a new set-up of assistive technology and to allow them to choose among three categories (i.e., food, beverage and leisure), and to request a specific item out of four in each category, adopting a procedure that minimized (according to a conditional probability criterion) unintentional choices. The second aim of the study was to carry out the effects of the program on detectable mood signs (i.e., happiness index). The study was conducted according to an ABAB sequence with a subsequent post intervention check for each participant. The results showed an increase of engagement and of the happiness index during intervention phases. Psychological as well as educational implications were discussed.


Assistive technology; Cerebral palsy; Choice behavior; Communication impairments; Microswitch; Multiple disabilities; Rehabilitation psychology

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