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      Technology-aided programs to enable persons with multiple disabilities to choose among environmental stimuli using a smile or a tongue response.

      Research in Developmental Disabilities
      Child, Choice Behavior, Communication Aids for Disabled, Disabled Children, Disabled Persons, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Movement, Self-Help Devices, Smiling, Tongue, User-Computer Interface

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          Abstract

          Persons with multiple disabilities, including pervasive motor impairment, may have problems controlling even small responses (e.g., vocal emissions, finger movements, or prolonged eyelid closures) within time-sensitive situations, such as those involved in choice programs. Recent research has indicated that smile expressions can be used as functional choice responses for some of these persons. The present two studies were aimed at assessing the smile response for a child with congenital multiple disabilities and a tongue response for a post-coma man who had recovered his consciousness but presented with pervasive multiple disabilities. The first of the two studies represented a research extension (i.e., a new case with a slightly adapted microswitch technology) concerning the smile response, which had recently been evaluated with few other cases. The second study represented a new effort to assess the tongue response within a choice program and for a post-coma man with multiple disabilities. The results showed that the participants used the smile and the tongue responses successfully while they were apparently unsuccessful in using a slight head/chin movement response. Their choice behavior focused reliably on preferred stimuli and avoided non-preferred stimuli. Implications of the results are discussed. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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