One Center's Approach to the Assessment and Treatment of the Pediatric Minimally Conscious State Children are surviving severe brain injuries and arriving at rehabilitation centers across the country in a minimally conscious state (MCS). The MCS is defined as a condition of severely altered consciousness in which minimal but definite behavioral evidence of self or environmental awareness is demonstrated. This relatively new working definition ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2011
One Center's Approach to the Assessment and Treatment of the Pediatric Minimally Conscious State
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie Fuith-Costa
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Kathryn DeMarco
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2011
One Center's Approach to the Assessment and Treatment of the Pediatric Minimally Conscious State
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, April 2011, Vol. 21, 6-14. doi:10.1044/nnsld21.1.6
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, April 2011, Vol. 21, 6-14. doi:10.1044/nnsld21.1.6

Children are surviving severe brain injuries and arriving at rehabilitation centers across the country in a minimally conscious state (MCS). The MCS is defined as a condition of severely altered consciousness in which minimal but definite behavioral evidence of self or environmental awareness is demonstrated. This relatively new working definition has challenged health care providers to expand their therapeutic scope and begin working with children in a disordered state of consciousness, who previously may not have been deemed appropriate for therapy services due to lack of consciousness. Currently, within the field of speech-language pathology, a lack of evidence exists supporting the assessment and/or treatment of children in a MCS. This article seeks to provide a better understanding of the MCS in children, the characteristics consistent with the MCS, and one inpatient acute rehabilitation center's approach to the assessment and treatment of these children. Further research is needed to develop standardized assessment procedures and treatment protocols and promote a multidisciplinary approach to the management of children with the MCS.

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