Technology-aided options for helping persons with multiple disabilities engage in communication behavior

Giulio E. Lancioni, Nirbhay N. Singh, Mark F. O'Reilly, Jeff Sigafoos, Gloria Alberti, Viviana Perilli, Adele Boccasini, Maria L. La Martire, Tommasa Zagaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efforts to promote communication in persons with multiple disabilities have largely focused on enabling them to make requests to their immediate caregivers and to exchange text messages or phone calls with distant partners. These two single-case studies extended the research in the latter area. Specifically, Study I targeted text messaging for a woman with visual and motor impairment and mild intellectual disability, teaching her to write her messages via microswitch, virtual keyboard, and word predictor. Study II targeted the use of phone calls for a postcoma adult male with motor impairment and mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, using a technology system that provided him with wide assistance through the process. The results of both studies were quite encouraging, showing an appropriate use of text messaging, including the writing of messages (Study I), and a successful performance of phone calls (Study II). The results were discussed in terms of their general relevance and implications for care and rehabilitation contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-26
Number of pages20
JournalLife Span and Disability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Communication
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Phone calls
  • Text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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