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RESEARCH PAPER
 
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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for a patient with a nonfluent/ agrammatic variant of PPA in the mutism stage

Maria Pąchalska 3, 5  
 
1
Old Polish University, Kielce, Poland
2
Department of Health Sciences, The Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
3
Department of Neuropsychology, The Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Krakow University, Krakow, Poland
4
Department of Electroradiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
5
Center for Cognition and Communication, New York, USA
Ann Agric Environ Med 2016;23(1):182–192
KEYWORDS:
ABSTRACT:
Introduction:
The paper presents an example of the successful administration of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. Such an approach is of particular significance in cases of patients with speech and language deterioration, which is observed in a nonfluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (PPA-G). Regaining the ability to communicate with others proves to be very important for the patients’ self-esteem and enables them to restore previously broken social bonds.

Case history:
The patient A.G., aged 73, a right-handed woman, had been a teacher of Polish before suffering from speech disorders of the PPA-G type. As the disease progressed, her communication deteriorated and finally she developed mutism. The patient was given a clinical and imaging-supported diagnosis of an isolated nonfluent/ agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (PPA-G). The Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system specially designed for her needs was introduced to help the patient to regain the possibility to communicate. After 20 sessions of training with the use of simple equipment she was again able to communicate non-verbally with her son and with the staff of the nursing home. At the same time, a considerable improvements in her social functioning, including daily activities, was observed.

Conclusions:
Loss of the ability to communicate with others has a serious impact upon a patient’s quality of life, and often results in withdrawal and an inability to lead an independent life. The introduction of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system proves to be a great help, not only for regaining the ability to communicate, but also for the restoration of social bonds. In consequence, the previously mute patient begins to show signs of social cooperation.

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