Communication aids provide alternative ways of communicating
for patients who have lost the function of speech, usually due
to dysarthria in progressive neuromuscular diseases, and
occasionally after head injuries or with brain tumors.
patient is still able to move his arms, writing messages
usually remains the best option, and a wipe-off screen is
often very useful.
If arm weakness begins to become a problem, alternatives to
writing have to be considered, including:
Referral to an experienced speech therapist or occupational
therapist with up-to-date knowledge of communications
equipment is essential, so that a suitable device can be
obtained and future needs assessed.
who cannot even point may still be able to operate “Possums”
(patient operated selector mechanisms) activated by
very slight movement or suck-blow, used to stop and start a
light scanning over a number of words or phrases.
patient has only eye movement, he may still be able to spell
out words using a transparent letter board. The patient is
viewed through the board and uses eye movements to spell out
words. Alternatively, a word or symbol chart that a companion
can point to can be very helpful.
ingenuity and microchip technology is improving all the time.
In addition to assistance with communications, it will someday
offer disabled patients more opportunities for continued
all equipment is accessible, as the patient can’t ask for
with the patient, don’t simply admire the equipment! It
takes courage to change from normal speech to dependence on
a machine. Have a positive attitude and be encouraging.
time. The patient may have spent a long time preparing
questions or comments in advance. Try to avoid speaking for
the patient and thus closing conversation down.
graded use well before all function is lost. Skillful timing
in introducing communication aids is essential.
arm supports can prolong the usefulness of communication
that using communication aids is tiring for both the user
The author and publisher have taken
precautions to ensure that the information in this book is
error-free. However, readers must be guided by their own
personal and professional standards of good practice in
evaluating and applying recommendations made herein. The
contents of this book represent the views and experience of
the author, and not necessarily those of the publisher.