Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of presenile dementia which often starts in the 40’s or 50’s. (Google Web Definition 2008 Online)

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of “dementia”. The word “dementia” is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Alzheimer’s is a progresive disease, this means that over time more parts of the brain will become damaged. (BBC 2000 Online)

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There is no one definate factor that has caused Alzheimer’s disease, its built up of a combination of factors, such as ; age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, diet and general health.

The communication needs of someone with Alzheimer’s is that they need someone to listen to what they are trying to say, a family member might know what they are trying to say and finish their sentence but it must be horrible for the person with alzheimer’s if their family member gets it wrong. The communication problems of someone with Alzheimer’s is memory loss, they will also experience an inability or difficulty in finding the right words to express themselves to others therefore someone who is speaking to someone with alzheimer’s should speak clearly and slowly so that they can be understood and also you shouldn’t patronise someone with alzheimer’s because this will upset them and make them feel like a child again when there not.

People who have Alzheimer’s also suffer from mood swings and they can become frustrated and angry if you are speaking sharply and raising your voice. This can also happen if you ask too many direct questions. The person with Alzheimer’s is more likely to take notice of your body language than what your actually trying to say. Communication may become difficult if there is agitated movements or tense facial expressions. You should use eye contact as much as possible because this will hold their attention.

Try and drown out any background noise such as radio’s/televisions and other peopls conversations so that they can hear you clearly and you can them. If you don’t understand what they are saying ask them questions and take your time with them as this will help encourage them to speak more. Try and laugh with them about mistakes and misunderstandings as this is a preassure valve. (Alzheimer’s Society 2008 Online)

There are a wide range of support services for people with Alzheimer’s, their family members and friends. These include: advocates (to speak on their behalf), speech therapists (to gain control of their speech again), interpretors (could be someone within the family that knows a lot about the person with alzheimer’s so they could interprit what their trying to communicate (this could be abit like an advocate)) and they could also use interpritors if they speak a different language), counsellor (for the family members if they find it a bit too much to cope with) and befrienders (if they live on their own its someone who can talk to them if they can still communicate).

People with alzheimers can still use technology to communciate because they can use texting on mobile phones.

The second illness I am going to explain is autism:


Autism is a brain disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behaviour.

Autism is a brain disorder that starts in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood. Autism affects three major areas of development such as; verbal/non-verbal communication, social interaction and creative/imaginative play. Autism is normally diagnosed around three years old. People who suffer from autism can also develop epilepsy (brain disorder that causes seizures). Most autistic individuals live a normal life span but require lifelong care and supervision. (BUPA 2007 Online)

In 1943 it was thought that autism was caused by poor parenting. Although this is false it is thought that genetics play a part. Autism is thought to be associated with other chromosomal abnormalities and that complicated births such as; difficult pregnancies, labour and delivery can also contribute to the disorder. Autism is more common in identical twins. The communication needs of someone with autism depend upon the intellectual and social development of the individual; some may not be able to communicate with others at all where as some autistic individuals can delve into an in-depth conversation about topics of interest. Most autistic individuals either don’t make or have very little eye contact when communicating with someone. People with autism often have difficulty understanding other people’s emotions and feelings. They may also:

* Not understand the social rules that we pick up almost immediately. They may stand too close to another person. This could influence communication because if you have some understanding of what autism is and what their communication needs are you will realise that its alright for them to stand to close to someone and not make themselves feel uncomfortable.

* Appear to not understand how someone else is feeling. For example someone with autism could say something to upset someone and not realise what they have said is horrible and upsetting.

* Want to be on their own a lot more than others because they feel more comfortable being on their own and they don’t have to ‘try’ and communicate.

* Appear to behave strangely, as it is not always easy for them to express feelings, emotions or needs.

Autistics seem to be mentally disabled (because the brain doesn’t function properly) they have a few learning difficulties although there are many autistics that are accomplished artists, musicians or writers.

One famous autistic is Dr Temple Grandin who has the legendary ability to read the animal mind. She believes this is all down to her autistic brain. (Google 2008 Online)

There are a few support services available for autistic people such as; advocates, speech language pathologist, occupational and physical therapists. People with Autism use a lot of technology such as keyboards which help them to speak if the don’t feel comfortable enough to actually use verbal communication. This may be because they can’t actually speak or they have difficulty with finding the right words to use so they don’t speak and may become mute later on in life. Sensory rooms are another form of technology that is used by autistics but it’s not only autistics that can use a sensory room. A sensory room is a normal room but with specific sensory equipment and activities to that person. (Sensory Room Online)

Use of technology

Deaf people have a wide range of technology to help them along in everyday life. “Alerting devices” is a term used for describing gadgets that can signal your attention and indicate the presence of sounds in the environment through one of three ways; providing a louder sound (for those hard of hearing), a light flash or a tactile vibration.

The types of technology you can get for Deaf people are; alarm clocks with either flashers, strobes or with flash and vibration. Door beacons (small strobe light flashes to show someone is at the door), smoke detector with strobe light (can be hooked to a bed vibrator) and a super phone ringer (loud ring for those hard of hearing). Other types of technology are assistive listening devices such as; texting on mobile phones, typetalk (allows Deaf and hearing people to communicate on the phone via an operator) and webcams (Deaf people can still communicate using BSL with one another and also they can see each others facial expressions). Cochlear implants and hearing aids are another sign of technology. A Cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf