A learning setup for a post-coma adolescent with profound multiple disabilities involving small forehead movements and new microswitch technology.

Abstract

PURPOSE A learning setup was arranged for an adolescent with profound multiple disabilities and a diagnosis of vegetative state. Signs of learning by the adolescent would underline an improvement in his immediate situation with potential implications for his general prospect, and could help revise his diagnosis. METHOD The response adopted in the learning setup was forehead skin movement. The microswitch technology used for detecting such a response consisted of (a) an optic sensor (i.e., barcode reader), (b) a small tag with horizontal bars attached to the participant's forehead, and (c) an electronic control system that activated stimuli in relation to the participant's forehead responses. The study followed an ABABACAB sequence, in which A represented baseline periods, B intervention periods with stimuli contingent on the response, and C a control condition with stimuli presented non-contingently. RESULTS Data showed that the level of responding during the B phases was significantly higher than the levels observed during the A phases as well as the C phase, indicating clear signs of learning. CONCLUSIONS Intervention strategies based on a learning format and suitable technology might be useful to improve the situation and prospect of persons with profound multiple disabilities and a diagnosis of vegetative state.

Cite this paper

@article{Lancioni2007ALS, title={A learning setup for a post-coma adolescent with profound multiple disabilities involving small forehead movements and new microswitch technology.}, author={Giulio E Lancioni and Nirbhay N Singh and Mark F O'Reilly and Jeff Sigafoos and Robert Didden and Doretta Oliva and Cinzia Calzolari and Gianluigi Montironi}, journal={Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology}, year={2007}, volume={2 5}, pages={293-7} }