The Effectiveness of Hands-on Activities of AAC (Augmentative & Alternative Communication) Tools.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Kentaro ISHIJIMA, Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan
This presentation aims to investigate the effectiveness of hands-on activities of AAC (Augmentative & Alternative Communication) tools for patients of motor neuron diseases (MNDs). Although patients of MNDs like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) have difficulty in speaking or writing, they can communicate with others when caregivers are skilled enough to use AAC tools. Communication is an important human need, and patients have good reason to demand such assistance. However, caregivers may not have adequate knowledge on the subject because their credential curriculum does not prepare them for these tools. Therefore, some non-profit organizations (NPOs) have been trying to advise caregivers on how to use these tools to meet patients’ needs.

Although earlier studies have pointed out that capable caregivers can use AAC tools successfully by encouraging patients to imagine using these tools, there is few studies, which deal with the process through which caregivers get capable. To improve the quality of assistance, measures to improve the caregivers’ skills should also be examined.

The author analyzed the data of the questionnaires (n = 326) that were distributed to the participants of hands-on activities conducted by ICT Rescue Team, an NPO in Japan. The sex, age, and credentials of the participants were noted. They were also asked about their knowledge of the tools before the activities, comprehension after the activities, and confidence in using these tools clinically. The author used logit regression models to statistically investigate whether comprehension enhances confidence regardless of prior knowledge to measure the effectiveness of hands-on activities.

Results showed that it is possible for participants to become highly confident in using AAC tools after hands-on activities, even when they do not have much prior knowledge about these tools. This is objective evidence confirming that these activities have a positive effect on the communication needs of MND patients.