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Res Dev Disabil. 2015 Mar;38:75-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.12.015. Epub 2014 Dec 26.

Supporting self-managed leisure engagement and communication in post-coma persons with multiple disabilities.

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University of Bari, Italy. Electronic address:
Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, USA.
University of Texas at Austin, USA.
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
"Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy.
S. Raffaele Rehabilitation and Care Centers, Ceglie and Alberobello, Italy.
ISPE Medical Care Center, Mola di Bari, Italy.
University of Bari, Italy.


Post-coma persons affected by extensive motor impairment and lack of speech, with or without disorders of consciousness, need special support to manage leisure engagement and communication. These two studies extended research efforts aimed at assessing basic technology-aided programs to provide such support. Specifically, Study I assessed a program for promoting independent stimulation choice in four post-coma persons who combined motor and speech disabilities with disorders of consciousness (i.e., were rated between the minimally conscious state and the emergence from such state). Study II assessed a program for promoting independent television operation and basic communication in three post-coma participants who, contrary to those involved in Study I, did not have disorders of consciousness (i.e., had emerged from a minimally conscious state). The results of the studies were largely positive with substantial levels of independent stimulation choice and access for the participants of Study I and independent television operation and communication for the participants of Study II. The results were analyzed in relation to previous data in the area and in terms of their implications for daily contexts dealing with these persons.


Communication; Emergence from MCS; Leisure engagement; Minimally conscious state (MCS); Technology-aided programs

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