Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s Disease may effect an individual’s ability to speak due to a condition called Dysarthria. Dysarthria has many forms; in general it affects a person’s ability to articulate words causing unintelligible speech or a loss of speech due to a disorder in the nervous system. This may coincide with a loss of muscle control.
How can AAC benefit individuals with Dysarithria as a result of a Neurological Disorder?
By providing speech output that a person can use to augment their communication, an AAC device (what is AAC?) allows an individual to continue to communicate without the need of easily understood, natural, speech. AAC devices allow a person to select words, sentences and phrases to communicate their wants, needs and ideas and to participate in social settings. Additionally AAC devices can connect people to the world by providing control over their TV, appliances and their computer – all of which may be difficult if a person has physical impairments due to their disease.
While there are many choices available regarding AAC systems, it is important to consider all of the things that make an AAC system appropriate for a person diagnosed with a neurological condition and dysarthria.
An AAC system should:
- Provide a clear voice to those that need assistance speaking words, sentences and phrases.
- Offer efficient and precise communication in an easy to use framework.
- Connect people to their world, giving them control over TV, appliances and their computer.
For individuals diagnosed with dysarthria as a result of a neurological condition….an AAC device should:
- Support quick, easy and efficient interaction within larger groups of people, providing a clear voice regardless of environment or social situation.
- Allow for access changes, if a person can no longer select what they want to say with their finger, AAC should allow for alternative access methods such as switch scanning or eye control.
- Provide meaningful messages to communication partners at work, home or in the community etc.
- Encourage social interaction on a variety of platforms in person, by phone, text message, e-mail, and optional web.