New Technologies for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries and Debilitating Diseases

Accessibility Services, Inc. is First in the World to Develop a Fully Integrated Experience for Individuals with Severe Disabilities

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) announced today the roll-out of new hospital and residential solutions designed to help individuals with the severest of disabilities become more independent.  ASI, a respected assistive technology developer and industry leader for nearly 30 years, has taken its signature autonoME product line to the next level by developing the world’s first device offering both augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and environmental control tools while providing a fully integrated television experience.

ASI primarily serves individuals with severe spinal cord injuries and debilitating, progressive diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). The autonoME is the first and only integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device with full augmentative and alternative (AAC) and computing capabilities. It allows users to have full control of their environment and gives them the ability to generate speech. The revolutionary new versions of the autonoME Hospital, autonoME Residential and autonoMEGo will soon be officially unveiled:

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2020 Conference

January 29th – February 1st

Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center

Orlando, Florida

Booth #313

The new autonoME Hospital incorporates a single 22” monitor that also allows patients to watch broadcast, streaming and cable television. This is an incredible breakthrough for hospitals, spinal cord injury units and rehabilitation centers as the autonoME Hospital is the world’s first device that not only offers AAC and ECU tools but seamlessly incorporates all available adaptive access methods and provides a fully integrated television experience.

According to Brice Green, ASI’s VP of Residential Business, the company’s new, proprietary autonoME software is designed to change and adapt over time, providing facilities and patients with the technical lever to remain relevant as trends evolve and change. Most impressively, the autonoME is a true all-in-one solution that extends the technological lever to clinicians within the hospital setting to accommodate any patient, irrespective of injury or diagnosis.

“We have been beta testing our new autonoME software and products at rehabilitation centers and the response has been quite impressive,” explains Green. “Not only are the new products being well-received, but our newly designed, proprietary software is providing an enhanced  User Experience (UX) that will transform the lives of individuals with the severest disabilities and their families.”

The new autonoME Residential is a light-weight mobile device that incorporates Microsoft’s® trusted Surface Pro as the platform for environmental control, computer access and AAC using ASI’s proprietary software. The redesigned, portable autonoMEGo now comes with a 17” display, articulating arm and optional eye gaze control access method.

“Individuals with the severest disabilities are often overlooked by many developers of new technology,” says Green. “It’s more profitable to develop for masses. Our mission is to serve the needs of this often underserved community and improve the quality of life for each individual we touch and their families.”

assistive technology for quadriplegics

Part Two

We are continuing our two part series on how quadriplegic assistive technology also benefits individuals with debilitating diseases such as ALS.  The autonoME is a proprietary custom environmental control unit (ECU)/speech generating device/Windows computer integrated into one single, convenient package.  Our previous article highlighted benefits including environmental control and caregiver peace of mind.  Below are two more ways quadriplegic assistive technology can make a difference in the lives of individuals with debilitating diseases:

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Loss of speech – whether sudden or gradual – can take its toll on both the individual affected and his/her family and friends.  Fortunately, assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases has advanced to incorporate augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) features.  The advanced AAC capabilities of the autonoME allow individuals to “bank” their own voice so it can be used later when speech becomes impaired.  Read more about voice banking.

Computing Capabilities

Many quadriplegic assistive technologies and ECU devices offer very basic features. The autonoME, on the otherhand, is a custom environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generating device that is equipped with Microsoft Windows 10.  Those who use the autonoME enjoy the freedom of being able to surf the internet, post on social media, conduct video calls, send messages and e-mail, write stories, and anything else that a Windows computer allows.

As you can see, ECU devices and communication devices for quadriplegics play an integral role in the quality of life and well-being of individuals with debilitating diseases.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, give us a call to learn more about how we can help!

assistive technology for quadriplegics

Part One

Accessibility Services, Inc. has been on the forefront of developing innovative solutions and assistive technology for quadriplegics for nearly three decades.  A lot has changed since we opened our doors in 1991 and we have since expanded our focus to also serve individuals with debilitating diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  Our proprietary autonoME custom environmental control unit (ECU) has integrated augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) features and a Windows 10 computing system.  This forward thinking device includes everything needed to help an individual maintain independence and effectively communicate.  Let’s take a closer look:

Environmental Control

ECU devices have transformed the lives of quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as ALS.  A custom environmental control unit allows an individual to perform everyday task such as turning on lights, adjusting the bed, controlling the television, turning on the fan, opening doors, answering the phone, operating a computer and more without the assistance of a caregiver.

Caregiver Peace of Mind

ECU devices and communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases not only allows the individual to have some independence, but they also provide much needed respite for caregivers. Now, caregivers can go to the store or visit a neighbor without worrying about leaving their loved one helpless at home.

Part two of our series will discuss more ways that quadriplegic assistive technology can benefit individuals with debilitating diseases including ALS.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ALS, we can help.  Give us a call today.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease that causes damage and eventually death of the nerve cells that control muscles and movement.  This incurable disease has remained somewhat of a mystery over the years. There is no one test that can definitively diagnose ALS, and the disease has very limited treatment options.

However, in an article published in Medical News Today, scientists may have identified significant differences in the cells and neurons present the spine of healthy individuals and individuals with ALS.  The study concluded that “people who had died from focal-onset ALS had different types of motor neurons, compared with healthy individuals.”  Scientists hope this breakthrough will lead to new treatments that slow the progression of the disease.

While there is still no definitive cause and few effective treatment options to enhance quality of life and life expectancy, the autonoME does offer some independence and hope for individuals with ALS and their friends and family.  The autonoME not only allows a person with ALS and other debilitating diseases and conditions to control their environment, but it is also an effective ALS communication device.  Environmental control units (ECU units) and ALS communication assistive technology have made significant strides over the years with the autonoME leading the way. Accessibility Services, Inc. developed the autonoME for individuals with spinal cord injuries and debilitating diseases.  In addition to ALS, the autonoME is a leader when it comes to environmental control units for disabled individuals AND communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases. Interested in learning more? Give us a call today.

Voice Assistive Technology

Voice assistive technology is a term used to describe any type of electronic device that offers speech assistance, including personal speech aids, voice amplifiers, and what is commonly known as a speech generating device (SGD).  Accessibility Services, Inc. offers voice assistive technology through our proprietary autonoME.  The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU)/speech generating device (SGD).  It’s superior augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) features are one reason why the autonoME is considered an industry gold standard.

The autonoME features a variety of different input methods – including touch, eye gaze, switch scanning/sip and puff, and head tracking – which makes it an ideal (ALS) communication device for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. When it comes to ALS communication assistive technology, the ability to accommodate different input methods is extremely important as the disease progresses.  A person who once was able to operate the autonoME using touch may need to utilize head tracking during later stages of the disease.

As far as equipment for quadriplegics, the autonoME can be customized to meet both environmental control and voice assistive technology needs. It is one of the most popular communication devices for quadriplegics.

If you or a loved one are affected by a progressive disease (i.e. ALS, multiple sclerosis, etc.) or are a quadriplegic who needs speech assistance, voice assistive technology will significantly improve and enhance the way you communicate.  Give us a call to learn more about how the autonoME can help.

ALS assistive technology

One of the most devastating aspects of progressive diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is losing the ability to control your surroundings.  Fortunately ALS assistive technology has advanced to allow individuals the ability to become more independent and control their environment.

A previous article discussed how ALS communication assistive technology plays an integral role in helping individuals and their families and friends cope with the disease.  Environmental control is just as important.

The autonoME is an environmental control unit (ECU)/speech generating device (SGD) integrated into one single package.  Not only is it an effective ALS communication device, but it also has superior environmental control capabilities.  Let’s take a closer look:

Surroundings

The autonoME allows individuals to have complete control of their television, lights, fan, bed, telephone and more.  We customize the autonoME to fit the individual needs of each client.

Computing

The autonoME is equipped with Windows 10 and has full computing capabilities.  Access the internet, post on social media, send e-mail and messages, play games, watch videos and more.

Adjustable Settings

This is an important feature for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The autonoME is easy to operate and features settings that can be adjusted as needed, including scan speeds, voice outputs, and self-calibration when using the accessory kit Intelligaze camera for input.

Accessibility Services, Inc. is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with severe spinal cord injuries and progressive diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ALS, give us a call to learn more about how ALS assistive technology can significantly improve quality of life.  We’re here to help.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

A new study performed by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science suggests that intestinal, or gut, microbiome may affect the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  Results of the study indicate that certain microbes slowed ALS-like diseases.  This research, while in its infancy, may be the first step toward developing new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and similar diseases.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease.  It affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, specifically the motor nerves that oversee muscle control and voluntary muscle movements.  As the disease progresses, breathing, moving, speaking and eating becomes more and more difficult.

ALS assistive technology can be used to help individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis perform tasks such as turning on the lights, controlling the television and calling for caregivers.  The autonoME is a combined environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD).  Not only does it allow individuals to control their surroundings, but it also gives them a voice.  ALS communication assistive technology is especially important because without it, communicating can be challenging.  What makes the autonoME such a popular ALS communication device and environmental control unit is that it can be customized to fit the specific needs of the individual.  It can also be modified as the disease progresses.

Veterans of the United States Armed Forces diagnosed with ALS may qualify to receive an autonoME through the Veterans Administration (VA).  If you are a veteran with the disease and would like to learn more about how you can receive this advanced ECU/ALS communication device, contact your local VA office.

Accessibility Services, Inc. stays on the forefront of research and technology to ensure our products deliver the best results for the clients we serve.  If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about how environmental control and ALS communication assistive technology can help, give us a call today.

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is essentially any form of communication with the exception of speech.  This can include symbols, pictures and sign language.  When it comes to augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology, the speech generating device (SGD) is what often comes to mind. Augmentative and alternative communication becomes significantly important to individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as difficulty with speech and/or total loss of speech is common, especially as the disease progresses.

The inability to speak is frustrating and often devastating for both the patient and his/her family, friends and caregivers. Fortunately, ALS communication assistive technology has come a long way over the past several years.  The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD) that is considered the gold standard when it comes to ALS assistive technology.  The autonoME, which is also used by quadriplegics and individuals with spinal cord injuries, has become an ALS communication device of choice due to its superior AAC features.  Let’s take a closer look at why the autonoME is considered a preferred ALS communication device.

Voice Banking

As we discussed in a previous article, the autonoME’s voice banking capabilities are one of the reasons why it is a top choice when it comes to ALS assistive technology. Individuals with early stage ALS can preserve their own synthetic speech that can be re-created when they lose their ability to speak.  Those with advanced ALS can have a friend or family member donate their voice so that the speech generated by the ALS communication device is that of a familiar voice.

Different Input Methods

The ability to accommodate different input methods is another reason why the autonoME is popular in the ALS communication assistive technology realm. The autonoME can be controlled by voice, touch, eye gaze, switch scanning/sip and puff, and head tracking.

Ease of Interface

The interface of the autonoME is extremely user friendly, which is important when it comes to ALS communication assistive technology.  It is easy for both the patient and their caregivers to learn.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, there is hope.  Your friends at Accessibility Services, Inc. can customize your autonoME to fit your specific needs.  We understand and we’re here to help.  Give us a call today.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is not only proud to serve veterans, but many of our staff are veterans.  Our Founder, Fred Thompson, founded ASI in 1991 with a primary mission to help veterans.  Although our reach has expanded well beyond that market, veterans are still the core of what we do and large part of the population we serve.

Research by the Defense Health Research Program expands on the connection between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and military veterans (Read the ALS Association summary of the report.)  In a nutshell, veterans appear to be at an increased risk of developing ALS, regardless of branch of service.  Although research is still underway to identify possible ways in which amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is connected to serving in the military, factors that may contribute to increased risk in veterans include exposure to lead, pesticides or other environmental contacts, use of tobacco or alcohol or extreme physical exertion. The Veterans Administration (VA) has designated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as a service connected disease.

An ALS communication device and ALS assistive technology can help ease the burden of this devastating disease. ASI is a leader in ALS assistive technology and our proprietary autonoME is covered by the VA. The autonoME is more than just an ALS communication device. It is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) features.  The autonoME has been transforming the lives of veteran’s with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and other service connected illnesses/injuries for nearly a decade.

Although there is not a cure yet, we can provide a better quality of life until one is found.

Veterans diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can talk with their local VA representative about acquiring an autonoME.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Voice banking is a way for individuals with early stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other progressive conditions to preserve their own synthetic speech.  As we covered in previous articles, ALS eventually results in loss of speech.  An ALS communication device can help with communicating.  The autonoME is an example of such a device.  It is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities.  The autonoME features different input methods which allow individuals to control the unit at varying stages of disease.

ALS communication assistive technology has advanced to where an individual can actually “bank” their own voice while they still have speech so that it can be synthetically re-created when they lose their ability to speak.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is proud to partner with Acapela Group, developers of my-own-voice.  This software seamlessly integrates with the autonoME, making it an even more effective and powerful ALS communication device.

There is even a solution for individuals with advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Individuals who have lost their ability to speak can ask a family member or friend to donate their voice, giving them the ability to speak using sounds that are familiar.

ASI is committed to staying on top of advances in ALS assistive technology.  We have had several clients utilize my-own-voice with the autonoME and the results are quite impressive.  If you or a friend/family member are affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS communication assistive technology can significantly improve your overall outlook and quality of life. Your friends at ASI are ready to set up your new autonoME.  Give us a call today.