Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for dementia and progressive aphasia

Principal Investigator:  Melanie Fried-Oken, PhD

Sponsor:  The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Dept. of Education and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (AAC-RERC)

Length: 8-10 months (depending on frequency of visits)

Visits: Approximately 15 in-home visits and an additional 6-month follow-up period requiring bi-monthly phone calls

Purpose:  To determine if a communication system will reduce language barriers toimprove conversation in persons with Alzheimer's disease and progressive aphasia.

Study Design:  Intervention Study- experimental. Within-subjects design and between subjects design

Seeking Volunteers:

  • Exclusion criteria common to both clinical groups (AD & NFPA): History of other neurological or psychiatric illness (CVA, focal findings on exam, reported alcohol abuse, traumatic brain damage, reported recent significant psychological or speech/language disorder)
  • Inclusion criteria specific to AD group: MMSE = 10-19 within 6 months of enrollment in study; CDR = 0.5-2.
  • Inclusion criteria specific to NFPA group: Inclusion criteria are based on the Gorno-Tempini et al (2004) descriptions. Speech and language deficits must be the presenting symptoms and isolated over a 2-year period. Specifically, participants need to show at least 2 of the following: motor speech deficits; agrammatism in language production; spared word comprehension; CDR = 0.5 - 2.
  • Exclusion criteria specific to NFPA group: History of everyday episodic memory impairment as first and/or primary symptom; significant deficits in tests of visual memory and/or visuospatial functions on screening; motor or ocular signs typical of progressive supranuclear palsy, cortico-basal degeneration or ALS.


Study Care & Reimbursement:  All study related visits are provided at no charge.

Contact:  Glory Noethe  503-494-2743 or