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"That is how I speak nowadays" - experiences of remote communication among persons with communicative and cognitive disabilities.

Journal article
Authors Margret Buchholz
Ulrika Ferm
Kristina Holmgren
Published in Disability and rehabilitation
Volume 40
Issue 12
Pages 1468-1479
ISSN 1464-5165
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Pages 1468-1479
Language en
Keywords Remote communication, communicative and cognitive disabilities, assistive technology, participation, self-determination
Subject categories Occupational Therapy


The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of remote communication (i.e., communication between persons who are not in the same place) among people with communicative and cognitive disabilities.Eleven adolescents and adults were interviewed using Talking Mats and interview data was analyzed qualitatively with systematic text condensation.The use of remote communication varies between the participants. The participants also value remote communication differently. Having the possibility to choose between different means of remote communication is important. Being able to determine whether to communicate independently or with support from another person is also valued as relevant. Strategies used to manage remote communication include facilitating for the communication partner and preparing for future communication situations. Those who are able to use writing as an alternative to problematic spoken remote communication like phone calls, for example by using chat or text messaging. Decisions regarding means of communication and human support relate to the concept of self-determination.Better access to remote communication trough assistive technology such as speech synthesis and picture symbols would make remote communication easier and facilitate participation for people with communicative and cognitive disabilities. Implications for rehabilitation People with communicative and cognitive disabilities face challenges with access to remote communication. Access to communication technology including remote communication is important for self-determination, for personal safety and for overall participation in society. Communication technology should be considered in the rehabilitation process and training is crucial. To understand the possible benefits of remote communication, people with communicative and cognitive disability need to get the possibility to practice. Professionals play a key role in the assessment and intervention of remote communication for their patients.

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