Purpose. To investigate the efficacy of TouchSpeak (TS), a handheld computerised communication aid for aphasia. Method. A pre-post one-group design was used with a referred sample of 34 patients with a severe aphasia and a need for alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). The participants were trained to use TS in two self-chosen communicative situations. The ability to navigate the hierarchical vocabulary and overall communicative ability were assessed. Participants rated their communicative success with and without TS. Three years after completion of the training, participants were interviewed about their present use of TS. Results. In total, 76% used TS outside the clinic in two trained communicative situations. Overall communicative ability improved, as tested in untrained scenarios. Quality of communication with TS was rated higher than without TS. Fifty per cent obtained their own TS after the training and after 3 years 6% still used TS. Conclusions. Aphasic communication can be supported effectively by TS. Patients with a severe aphasia are able to master a hierarchical computerised vocabulary and to use it in daily life for specific communicative situations. In addition, TS may also have a generalised effect on overall communicative ability. For most patients, the supportive role of TS is temporary.

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doi.org/10.1080/09638280601056178, hdl.handle.net/1765/36367
Disability and Rehabilitation
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van de Sandt-Koenderman, M., Wiegers, J., Wielaert, S., Duivenvoorden, H., & Ribbers, G. (2007). A computerised communication aid in severe aphasia: An exploratory study. Disability and Rehabilitation, 29(22), 1701–1709. doi:10.1080/09638280601056178