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A Model for Proactive Comprehensive AAC Intervention for People with ALS

A Model for Proactive Comprehensive AAC Intervention for People with ALS

Dr John Costello

Sunday, 15 Rajab 1439 AH - 1 April 2018 AD 1:30 PM-3:30 PM Auditorium 3

Dr John Costello

Director, Pediatric Augmentative Communication Program and the ALS Augmentative Communication Services

Boston Children’s Hospital

 

John has been a Speech Language Pathologist in the Augmentative Communication Program (ACP) at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly 33 years and is the director of the Pediatric Augmentative Communication Program and the ALS Augmentative Communication Services.   John founded the first and only dedicated AAC in the Pediatric ICU/Acute Care Setting Program in the early 90’s and has founded a full-time ALS Augmentative Communication Program being used as a model for other programs internationally.   He is a full-time clinician providing clinical care to children and adults with non-speaking conditions and is adjunct instructor for Boston University and MGH Institute of Health Professionals.   John has lectured nationally and internationally on topics of AAC and authored/co-authored several articles and chapters related to AAC.

 

A Model for Proactive Comprehensive AAC Intervention for People with ALS

 

For people with ALS who will likely lose the ability to speak, it is criticalthat a proactive and aggressive focus on early introduction and trials with augmentativecommunication strategies, is implemented. Why is it so critical? Because firstconsidering AAC strategies only when speech difficulties are evident, when significantmotor difficulties emerge or when breathing difficulties and overall fatigue is prevalent,one has lost the ‘window of opportunity’ to participate in several critical communication supports.

Through close collaboration with neurologists and other members of the ALS/MNDmedical and clinical team, all of whom advocate for extremely early referral for AACservices; a model of AAC counseling, assessment, customization and implementation hasemerged.  Clinical consideration will be discussed in detail including: Use of voice amplification, strategies to enhance speech clarity, introduction to  message banking, define and introduce voice banking, introduction to the concept of ‘quick access’ low-tech tools created and designed in collaboration with each person, quick alternative access strategies including partner-assisted scanning and Laser pointer with low tech boards and assessment and feature matching for speech generating technology.