• Gabrielle Flahault

ChatAble and aphasia

Choosing ChatAble for a Global aphasia patient: One SLP’s journey As an SLP, a person with aphasia can be potentially the most challenging patient to figure out the best AAC system.  Here is my SLP journey with using Chatable for Susan, a 48-year-old female with severe global aphasia and severe apraxia following multiple strokes due to Moya Moya disease. She presented with limited to no functional verbal output and severely impacted receptive language, especially within non-contextual situations.  What did Chatable bring to Susan that others did not? What specific features led me to choose this app for this patient? Let’s dive into my reasons:  Power of Contextual Visual Scene Based Language  Context can be King to facilitate both expressive and receptive skills for a person with aphasia.  We worked together using grid category based static and dynamic displays but despite training and practice and very large grid sizes, it was unsuccessful.  Susan’s husband continually stated that patient communicated better during tasks such as grocery shopping where she could physically pick out items or at home where she could point to specific objects or lead her listener to a specific location. Sounded like everyday contextual situations that facilitated language and communication, so we first started tackling low tech Visual Scene Displays of rooms in her home and then moved to dynamic VSD apps.  Following trialing a handful of VSD apps, ChatAble was a clear choice to facilitate Susan’s expressive and receptive language. Let’s get to WHY part. This app has much more than the typical VSD system including these top features which were perfect to help Susan overcome her global aphasia and apraxia: - Programable dynamic hotspots going into unlimited dynamic levels for true contextual language (think opening the fridge or a medicine cabinet) - Ability to not only record audio but record videos to hotspots. Very limited apps allow video recording, especially within a visual scene. What kind of videos do I love to record for severe aphasia and apraxia patients? A speech entrainment video to allow them to speak in unison while watching my mouth move-golden! Susan was able to verbalize functional words to her friends and family (oh and also communicate her thoughts!).  - Hybrid ability! ChatAble allows grid-based, pure Visual Scene and then a hybrid ability to combine the two. Susan mainly used all Visual Scenes but we were able to program some pages (such as family-based pages) with a hybrid approach. Very customizable to her needs.  Power of sharing Think about how often we communicate via sharing. Text messaging, emailing, social media etc. Susan was an avid texter and social media user, and this was all lost with her loss of language and inability to type out novel information. But with ChatAble, she could make selections on her visual scene display and symbol-based buttons and with one click of the “share” button, get back to texting, emailing and posting for all to see. Watching Susan’s use of ChatAble to open up her social communication was so powerful! Thank you for sharing in Susan’s journey as she overcame her global aphasia and apraxia with use of ChatAble.    Sarah Whyte, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP Speech-Language Pathologist Assistive Technology Professional aacspeechtherapist@gmail.com


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