Cognitive and Behavioral Impairments in People With ALS and Their Implications for Communication and AAC Use For many years, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was considered a disease that affected only movement. However, attention is now being paid to the changes in cognition and behavior that sometimes occur in the disease. These changes may affect a client's ability to communicate effectively, employ compensatory communication strategies, and ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2006
Cognitive and Behavioral Impairments in People With ALS and Their Implications for Communication and AAC Use
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy Romaón
    Forbes Norris ALS Research Center at California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
  • Susan Woolley Levine
    Forbes Norris ALS Research Center at California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2006
Cognitive and Behavioral Impairments in People With ALS and Their Implications for Communication and AAC Use
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 2006, Vol. 15, 9-14. doi:10.1044/aac15.4.9
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 2006, Vol. 15, 9-14. doi:10.1044/aac15.4.9
For many years, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was considered a disease that affected only movement. However, attention is now being paid to the changes in cognition and behavior that sometimes occur in the disease. These changes may affect a client's ability to communicate effectively, employ compensatory communication strategies, and utilize augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.
In this article, we examine the cognitive and behavioral changes most commonly identified in people with ALS (PALS) and consider implications for communication and AAC use. We also suggest methods to screen for these changes and describe intervention strategies.
ALS is an incurable disease affecting approximately 30,000 Americans. It attacks upper and lower motor neurons resulting in progressive paralysis of voluntary muscles. Weakness begins in the limbs or the muscles responsible for speech and swallowing and usually progresses throughout the body within 3 to 5 years.
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