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.

Comcast Rolls Out New Television Control Feature for Eye Gaze Users

A popular feature autonoME users enjoy is the ability to control their television. When we install an autonoME, one of the features we are often asked to demonstrate is its television control capabilities.

Cable giant Comcast recently rolled out their Xfinity X1 eye control which is designed to make it even easier for Comcast customers with disabilities to control their set-tops. The Xfinity X1 eye control is a web-based remote that operates in conjunction with existing eye gaze hardware and sip and puff switches. Once paired to the set-top box, users can operate the remote by gazing at the buttons on their tablet. This allows users to launch the guide, search for programs, change channels, operate their DVR, turn on the X1 Sports app, access the X1 accessibility menu and more.

Everyone at Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is thrilled about this new technology. We know how important television control is for the clients we serve, and this new feature from Comcast can provide an additional option for our clients to control their cable TV viewing experience. We expect other cable and streaming providers to soon follow suit.

quadriplegic assistive technology

When it comes to disabilities, a common question often asked is what is the difference between a quadriplegic and paraplegic?  Here is a summary of the main differences:

Paraplegic

A paraplegic has sustained a spinal cord injury in the lower back (within the T1-L5 sections of the spine).  Paraplegics experience some form of paralysis in the lower part of the body which can range from minor mobility problems to being completely paralyzed from the waist down.  Paraplegics do have full use of their arms.

Quadriplegic

Quadriplegics have sustained a spinal cord injury in the neck or upper back within the C1-C8 cervical section which is located above the first thoracic vertebra in the spine.  Quadriplegics have paralysis in the arms and legs.  The extent of the paralysis varies depending on the type and severity of injury.  Rehabilitation including occupational and physical therapy can have a positive effect on the degree of paralysis.   Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and quadriplegic assistive technologies such as a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit for disabled individuals have advanced significantly through the years and offer quadriplegics the ability to communicate and perform everyday tasks such as turning on the light or changing channels on the television.

The autonoME – developed by Accessibility Services, Inc. – is a both a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit designed for individuals with spinal cord injuries or debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).  What makes the autonoME such an effective assistive technology for quadriplegics is its ability to help an individual communicate and achieve independence.  If you are in the process of researching environmental control units for disabled individuals, adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, or various assistive technologies for quadriplegics, give us a call.  Our Product Reps are happy to answer your questions and demonstrate how the autonoME can transform the life of you and your loved one.

quadriplegic assistive technology

Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has come a long way over the years.  Today, quadriplegic assistive technologies including speech generating devices and environmental control units for disabled individuals have transformed the lives of people living with quadriplegia and their caregivers.  Let’s look at some ways adaptive equipment for quadriplegics continues to improve quality of life for thousands of people affected both directly and indirectly by quadriplegia:

Independence

Environmental control units for disabled individuals are one type of quadriplegic assistive technology that has been a game changer.  They are designed to give quadriplegics and individuals with physical disabilities the ability to control their surroundings.  Standard features include the ability to turn the television on and off, change channels, turn lights and fans on and off, control the bed, and more.

Communication

When it comes to quadriplegic assistive technologies, the speech generating device is one that tops on the list. The speech generating device has full Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) capabilities and allows individuals who are unable to speak to have a voice.

Caregiver Comfort

Quadriplegic assistive technologies such as the speech generating device and environmental control units for disabled individuals give caregivers comfort and confidence in knowing that their loved one has the ability to complete certain tasks on their own and offers comfort should they have to leave them alone for a few minutes.

Accessibility Services, Inc. recognizes that most quadriplegics need both a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit.  That is why we developed the autonoME.  The autonoME is a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit integrated into one single package.  The autonoME also runs Windows 10 so the user has full computing and internet capabilities as well.  Best of all, the autonoME’s different input methods including voice, touch, sip and puff, eye gaze and head tracking allow users with different stages of disability to use the device.

Would you like to learn more about how the autonoME can benefit you, a family member or one of your clients?  If so, our Product Reps are ready to answer your questions.  Call or e-mail us today!

Autonome ECU in Children's Hospital

Special thank you to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, Oklahoma for this wonderful article and update on how the autonoME is making a difference in the lives of the children they serve!

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) worked with The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital to develop and install a customized autonoME hospital system for inpatients and an autonoME system in an AT lab for outpatient demonstrations.

ASI’s Vice President, Brice Green, consulted with the facilities manager at The Children’s Center and customized the autonoME to meet the hospital’s specifications. Heather Giordano M.S., CCC-SLP, Product Rep. and ASI’s in-house national certified speech and language pathologist provided on-site consultation on customizing the augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) specifically for their patients.

“Knowing that a child who is unable to communicate can now express their thoughts and feelings makes what we do so worthwhile,” explains Green, “And, giving children with disabilities the ability to perform tasks that most people take for granted – such as changing channels on the television or turning on the lights – makes a tremendous difference in the lives of these children and their families. We are honored to be part of the ‘miracles’ that The Children’s Center make happen every day.”

The Anatomy of the autonoME (Part 3)

When it comes to assistive technology for quadriplegics, the autonoME is the industry gold standard. Not only is the autonoME an environmental control unit, but it is also a speech generating device and computer with Windows 10 and internet access. These capabilities are combined in one single package, making the autonoME one of the industry’s most powerful tools for quadriplegics. The autonoME also features various input devices and methods, so it has become one of most sought after environmental control and communication devices for quadriplegics on the market today.

Touch

The autonoME is equipped with a capacitive touch screen that works with a finger touch or, if the user prefers, a stylus.

Voice

A directional microphone can be used to control the autonoME with voice commands.

Switch Scanning/Sip and Puff

This is a very popular feature, especially for a quadriplegic. Supplies and accessories like a sip and puff (dual switch) can be added and used to activate the switch and operate the unit.

Eye Tracking

An integrated or mounted camera tracks the user’s pupil and eye movements to control the mouse.

Head Tracking

This is popular for someone who has a debilitating disease or is a quadriplegic. Supplies and accessories like a head tracking camera can be mounted to the top of the monitor. A special metallic sticker is then placed on the user’s head, hat or eyeglasses, allowing them to control the mouse curser.

Want to learn more about why the autonoME is a preferred assistive technology for quadriplegics in both hospital and residential settings? If so, give us a call!