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Issues in Evaluating and Placing AAC Devices for People with ALS and FTD

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with primary involvement in the corticonuclear region results in motor speech disorders. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) treat people with ALS by evaluating their communication needs for propor AAC device placement and the continuing evaluation of the appropriateness of the device to meet their needs as the course of the disease progresses. However, current research links a form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) to some cases of ALS. Therefore, more than a loss of voluntary movement should be evaluated when treating patients with ALS. Hallmark characteristics of FTD include impairments of executive functioning such as changes in self-perception and emotional responses, planning, and problem solving. Patients with ALS who also exhibit these cognitive changes need additional cognitive assessment to determine if they are capable of following the sometimes complex demands of sophisticated AAC devices. Additionally, AAC systems may be modified over time as both the ALS and FTD progress.

Author(s):

Gale Rice    
Fontbonne University
United States

Carmen Russell    
Fontbonne Unviversity
United States

 

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