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Communicating with people living with dementia who are nonverbal: the creation of Adaptive Interaction

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Author(s)

Maggie Ellis, Arlene Jean Astell

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Abstract

Loss of verbal language production makes people with dementia appear unreachable. We previously presented a case study applying nonverbal communication techniques with a lady with dementia who could no longer speak, which we termed Adaptive Interaction. The current small-n study examines the applicability of Adaptive Interaction as a general tool for uncovering the communication repertoires of non-verbal individuals living with dementia. Communicative responses of 30 interaction sessions were coded and analysed in two conditions: Standard (Baseline) and Adaptive Interaction (Intervention). All participants retained the ability to interact plus a unique communication repertoire comprising a variety of nonverbal components, spanning eye gaze, emotion expression, and movement. In comparison to Baseline sessions, Intervention sessions were characterised by more smiling, looking at ME and imitation behaviour from the people with dementia. These findings allude to the potential of Adaptive Interaction as the basis for interacting with people living with dementia who can no longer speak.  
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0180395
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS One
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017

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