Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy
Department of Biomedical Engineering
- Enhancing interaction with non-communicative individuals
Care providers can experience considerable distress and frustration when trying to interact with individuals who cannot produce vocal or other observable responses. These individuals may be non-communicative for a variety of reasons, ranging from acute traumatic injury to a congenital disability. Caregivers of these individuals can end up confining their interactions to custodial care, especially when their social interaction is unreciprocated for a long period of time. Such situations can lead to caregiver burnout and place the non-communicative individual at risk for neglect and/or family abandonment. The BIAPT lab develops novel technologies that provide visual and auditory manifestations of a non-communicative individual’s physiological responsiveness, with the goal of enhancing interaction between non-communicative individuals and their caregivers. We are currently focusing on biomusic, which translates meaningful changes in the autonomic nervous system into auditory output.
- Assessing levels of consciousness and cognition in non-communicative individuals
Accurate assessment of non-communicative individuals is extremely challenging. Behavioural assessment remains the “gold standard”, yet using these techniques to assess levels of consciousness has resulted in a greater than 40% misdiagnosis rates