Communication changes experienced by adults with cerebral palsy as they age

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TitleCommunication changes experienced by adults with cerebral palsy as they age
Publication TypeJournal Article
AbstractPurpose: Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) experience multiple, functional changes as they age, including changes to communication modes and methods that enable development and maintenance of relationships, communicative participation and quality-of-life. Little is known about the nature of communication changes experienced by this group. The aim of this study was to better understand how adults with CP experience changes in their communication abilities as they age and the subsequent psychosocial impact. Method: Twenty adults with cerebral palsy aged 40–72 years with complex communication needs (CCN) participated in a series of in-depth interviews, framing their experiences of loss and grief throughout their lives. The impact of changing communication abilities emerged as an important area of focus. Data were analysed using constructivist grounded theory methodology. Result: Themes arising from the participants’ perceptions of their communication included experiencing communication change as a loss with subsequent impact on self-concept; and how communication is integral to the process of managing losses associated with older age. Conclusion: Implications for speech-language pathologists working with older people with cerebral palsy and CCN include the need to understand the psychosocial impact of communication changes on social interaction, relationships and communicative participation. It is important to promote positive and meaningful communication options that maintain a coherent sense of self in addition to promoting functional communication skills and communicative participation.
AuthorsDark, L. J., Clemson L., and Balandin S.
Year of Publication2016
PublicationInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
ISSN1754-9507 (print) 1754-9515 (online)
Publisher DOI
Keywords (MeSH)adult, cerebral palsy, communication, grounded theory, quality of life, self concept, speech-language pathology