Sensors for Communication for Persons Who Cannot Communicate Unequivocally

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2032
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Oslo
Updated on 20 February 2022
cerebral palsy
intellectual disability


Some persons with intellectual disability or comprehensive cerebral palsy cannot communicate unequivocally how they are, how they react to situations and people, whether they are in pain or experience discomfort, anger or fear. Their modes of communication (sounds, grimacing etc) may be unintelligible or ambiguous to their caregivers.

With the use of heart and/or respiration monitors the investigators aim to give these persons a means to communicate their immediate reactions or responses. The respiration monitor is meant to register sleep at night, so that the participants can communicate whether they have slept well or not the previous night.


Heart rate (HR) is considered to reflect a persons autonomic response to situations, whether external (what happens around us) or internal (pain or pleasure, joy or fear). Some persons with severe intellectual disability or comprehensive cerebral palsy or childhood autism cannot communicate unequivocally, either because they lack the cognitive prerequisites and language or because they lack control over their muscles used for speech.

The investigators believe that these persons, through their heart rate, as registered with a commercially available chest belt or wrist watch, may communicate something about their well being and their reactions, preferences, aversions and fears.

Many persons with intellectual disability, comprehensive cerebral palsy or childhood autism (the participants in this study) have sleep problems, but these may go unnoticed. Participants often have a fixed schedule for the day, and this is carried out irrespective of the shape they are in, e.g. irrespective of how well they have slept the night before. The challenges may then be too much for a sleep-deprived person, and frustration and even self harm and aggressive behavior may be the result. With the use of a respiration monitor that assesses sleep from the person's breathing pattern, the person in question may be able to communicate to her/his caregivers how the previous night's sleep was.

Information about heart rate and sleep may contribute to better care and health services for persons who are unable to communicate unequivocally because of intellectual disability, autism and/or cerebral palsy.

Condition Intellectual Disability, Autism, Cerebral Palsy
Treatment Heart rate and respiration rate sensors
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04199299
SponsorUniversity of Oslo
Last Modified on20 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

intellectual disability with or without autism and/or cerebral palsy that render the participant unable to communicate his/her needs and reactions unequivocally

Exclusion Criteria

allergic skin reaction to chest strap
Clear my responses

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