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Communication support strategies

To maintain communication it is important to 'problem solve' and to use preserved muscle function. The speech pathologist assists in finding the  best way for a person living with MND to communicate.

Murphy 2004

Communication strategies of people living with motor neurone disease:

  • Speaking strategies:
    • repetition, spelling and key words
    • breathing, relaxation and energy conservation
  • Conversation strategies:
    • partner interpretation and confirmation
    • context and topic cues
    • attitude and humour
  • Non-verbal strategies:
    • positioning and gesture
    • facial expression and eye contact
  • Augmentative and assistive communication strategies:
    • Low-tech: alphabet chart, communication chart, pen and paper
    • High-tech: (not covered in this study

MND Australia 2014

Communication support strategies:

  • take time to create a relaxed atmosphere
  • encourage the person with MND to slow down speech and carefully articulate words
  • positioning - face-to-face, watch lips, eyes, gestures, reduce background noise
  • avoid interruptions or trying to finish sentences
  • encourage writing of key words to augment verbal communication
  • ascertain the individual’s own preferred means of communication
  • establish gestures or signals for ‘yes’ and ‘no’
  • ask questions which only need a ‘yes/no’ answer

Augmentative and assistive communication devices:

  • writing, alphabet board, communication charts, perspex eye-gaze frame (ETRAN board)
  • hands-free telephone, telephone typewriter (TTY), call bell, personal alarm
  • laser head pointer, computer software, tablets, eye-tracking devices, Lightwriter

Referral Pathways

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