Ingrid Rummo "A case study of the communicative abilities of a subject with mosaic Patau syndrome"
Thesis supervisor dr Silvi Tenjes.
Opponents: Hille Pajupuu (The Institute of the Estonian Language ) and PhD Anne Suvanto (Puheterapiapalvelut Sana-Avain, Soome).
The absence of speech ability causes a lot of misunderstanding and makes communication unsmooth. Not only a person with partial or total loss of the ability to speak experiences a lot of frustrations, but the problem also influences his or her interlocutors, especially the closest family members. Although the most common way to communicate is to use words, we also have the opportunity to interact multimodally, applying other signs different from words. One possibility to help a speech impaired person is to analyze his or her communication practices in order to find the most important and most used communicative modalities, and through this process comprehend him or her better. Current thesis presents the first Estonian study of multimodal communication, which explores coping ability of an individual with mental retardation and dyspraxia in communicative situations. In addition, communication means of people with various trisomies ( the subject of the thesis has the mosaic version of Patau syndrome) have not been studied here before, and throughout the world there are very limited data on such communication. At the same time, the field is relevant and loaded with enormous practical value, because individuals with such disability – impairment of expressive speech – yet have the need and the right to participate in interpersonal communication, to receive information and to make themselves understandable. Raising the awareness of Estonian society on this topic is an example of one immediate necessity. Sole consciousness of the approach based on multimodal microanalysis might enhance comprehension of people with such disabilities in their everyday life.
The article-based dissertation is a case study, which one outcome is the lexicon of the subject`s verbal and corporal communication modalities. The objective of compiling the lexicon was to improve life quality of the subject – existence of the lexicon enables the individual´s communication partners to comprehend her and to communicate with her, ensuring thus a smoother communication. The author of current thesis considers it important to develop a suitable communication methodology for individuals with expressive speech impairment and for their communication partners; this study constitutes the first step in the wishful direction.