Serving Clients with Progressive Dementias

by Judith Maginnis Kuster - Minnesota State University, Mankato (kuster@mnsu.edu).

ASHA supports "the active involvement of speech-language pathologists in assessing communication skill, providing treatment programs to facilitate and maintain functional communication, and helping caregivers understand the communication problems associated with dementia." (Ferrand, CT and Bloom, RL (1997) Introduction to Organic and Neurogenic Disorders of Communication, Boston: Allyn & Bacon, p. 101). This column highlights general Internet references for professionals and consumers as well as specific resources available for three progressive dementias: Creutzfeldt-Jakob, Huntington's, and Alzheimer's diseases. (Other disorders associated with dementia are listed at here)

The speech-language pathologist can provide resources for caregivers of persons with dementia. For patients with non-progressive or slowly progressing dementias, the Internet may facilitate memories. The internet can help clinicians as well as caregivers find appropriate materials for stimulating long-term memory. Creutzfeldt-Jakob's Disease

CFD is infectious (or inherited), fatal, and causes a rapidly progressing dementia.

Huntington's Disease

HD is a hereditary, incurable, degenerative brain disorder that causes dementia, typically manifesting between the ages of 30-45 and lasting 10-15 years.

Alzheimer's Disease
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Kuster, JM, Serving Clients with Progressive Dementias, ASHA, January/February, 1999, p. 52