“My world has expanded even though I’m stuck at home”: Experiences of individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication and social media: Caron & Light (2015)

laptop and globeCaron, J., & Light, J. (2015). “My world has expanded even though I’m stuck at home”: Experiences of individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication and social media. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 24, 680-695.
doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-15-0010

 

Purpose This study aimed to expand the current understanding of how persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (pALS) use augmentative and alternative communication and social media to address their communication needs.

Method An online focus group was used to investigate the experiences of 9 pALS who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. Questions posed to the group related to (a) current use of social media, (b) advantages of social media, (c) barriers to independent use, (d) supports to independent use, and (e) recommendations for developers, policy makers, and other pALS.

Results Participants primarily reported that use of social media was a beneficial tool that provided increased communication opportunities, connections to communication partners, and networks of support. Specific results are discussed with reference to the research as well as implications for practice and recommendations for future research.
Conclusions As individuals with ALS experience loss of function, some communication modes may no longer be viable. Providing access to different modes of communication, including social media, can allow independence, participation and better quality of life.

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