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Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Sep;34(9):2959-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.06.006. Epub 2013 Jun 29.

Technology-aided recreation and communication opportunities for post-coma persons affected by lack of speech and extensive motor impairment.

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University of Bari, Italy.


This study assessed technology-aided intervention programs for two post-coma men who had re-acquired consciousness, but were unable to engage in personally or socially relevant occupations, given their lack of functional speech and their extensive motor disabilities. The microswitches used for accessing the program contents consisted of (a) a pressure sensor fixed in the palm of the first man's hand that could be activated with a small hand closure movement, and (b) an optic sensor fixed under the chin of the second man that could be activated by mouth opening movements. The programs' content consisted of recreation and communication options, which involved activating music, videos, and basic requests, sending and receiving (listening to) text messages, and placing phone calls. The results showed that the men (a) used the technology-aided programs successfully to manage the recreation and communication options available and (b) showed consistent preference for the sessions with the technology-aided program over other daily events. Family and staff members interviewed about the participants' programs (seven members for each participant) thought that the participants enjoyed the intervention sessions with the programs and that the programs had beneficial effects for them. Implications of the findings are discussed.


Communication; Consciousness; Microswitches; Post-coma persons; Recreation; Technology-aided programs

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