Students Working to Improve Quality of Life for Those with ALS

We are always encouraged and impressed when we hear stories of student researchers diligently working to help improve the lives of quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We stumbled upon a very uplifting story out of Washington State University where a student bioengineering team has designed a mattress specifically to help those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis get more comfortable and restful sleep.

The students call their invention the Zephyr Mattress, and it includes numerous pressure-sensitive oscillating cells designed to produce different surfaced and varied degrees of firmness.  The design is still in its testing stages, but the team soon hopes to obtain a patent for the mattress and start a company.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) knows first-hand what it is like to have an idea that helps others.  We are now considered a leader in ALS assistive technology, providing ALS communication and environmental control options for individuals with all levels of disease progression. Our signature autonoME is a custom environmental control unit and speech generating device with voice assistive technology. What makes the autonoME such a popular ALS communication device is the fact that it can be controlled using different input methods. Perhaps when an individual first begins to need voice assistive technology, they are able to use touch as the input method.  As the disease progresses, they may need to control the device using an alternate input method such as eye gaze or sip and puff. The autonoME is designed to accommodate disease progression.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you.  The ALS assistive technology available can significantly improve quality of life and communication with caregivers and loved ones.  Give us a call to speak with one of our product specialist today.

Identifying Medical Scams Associated with Chronic Illnesses and Quadriplegia

(part two)

We are continuing our series on identifying scams associated with chronic illnesses and quadriplegia.  Quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are sometimes targets for unscrupulous individuals hoping to make a quick “buck.”  Our previous article touched on red flags such as promises of a quick fix or cure, money back guarantees and products/medications that are not backed by medical facts.  Today we will look at three more signs that indicate a possibility of a scam:

Scientific Breakthrough

Any product, pill or service that touts a “scientific breakthrough” should be thoroughly researched as this is terminology that is commonly used in scams.  If you are considering purchasing a product that mentions this terminology, be sure to run it by your physician first.

Miraculous Results

“Secret”, “Miracle” and “Breakthrough” are also examples of red flag terminology.  Be aware of any product, pill or service that uses these terms in advertising and promotions.

Cures Multiple Diseases

Beware of any product, pill or service that claims to cure multiple unrelated diseases.  When a true cure for a disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or multiple sclerosis is discovered, your doctor will know about it.

Accessibility Services, Inc. has been a trusted and leading provider of assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with chronic diseases for nearly three decades.  Our signature autonoME is an integrated custom environmental control unit/speech generating device equipped with voice assisted technology to help individuals interact with their surroundings and communicate with caregivers and loved ones.  Therapists and other industry medical professionals trust ASI to provide innovative and user friendly assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases. When you choose ASI, take comfort in knowing that each of our professionals truly cares about every individual we serve.  If you or a loved one are considering a custom environmental control unit and/or voice assistive technology, give us a call. Our family is here to serve yours!

Memorial Day – A Time to Honor and Remember
COVID-19 closings, restrictions and stay-at-home orders have resulted in “cabin fever” throughout the country.  As states slowly open back up in an attempt to return to normal, many people now have an even greater appreciation for the everyday activities that we all once took for granted.

The freedoms we enjoy and missed so much during COVID-19 restrictions were secured for us generations ago by the brave men and women who selflessly fought for them. Today, our military continues to fight to ensure we all can enjoy freedoms that many others throughout the world cannot.  Everyone who has ever served in the United States military volunteered to make personal sacrifices for our freedoms.  Some even made the ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday set aside to honor and mourn all U.S. military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice and died serving our country.  It is a day to remember them and remind ourselves that our freedoms never were and never will be free.

Accessibility Services, Inc. proudly salutes the brave men and women who chose to lay their lives down to secure our freedoms. Thank you to all of the soldiers, sailors, enlisted and officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. This day is set aside for you.  May you rest in eternal peace.

 

 

assistive technology for quadriplegics

Part One

Quadriplegics and individuals diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis are forced to consider the fact that their lives have changed forever.  As a result, many people get their hopes up when they hear of medications, pills or products that offer results that sound promising, but are unrealistic.  While products including assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases (i.e. voice assistive technology, augmentative and alternative communication, environmental control unit, speech generating device, etc.) have been proven to improve quality of life, there are other products that give false hope.  Our next series of articles will discuss how to identify some common scams.

Promise of a Quick Fix or Cure

Beware of any medication, pill or product that promises a quick fix or cure. It is unlikely that a true cure will be sold through an infomercial or over the counter. When a cure is available, it will receive much publicity and will probably require a prescription from your doctor.

Money Back Guarantee

This is usually a red flag.  Manufacturers are counting on the fact that the money back guarantee will draw you in, but make the process of the return difficult, thus deterring you from getting your money back when the product does not deliver the advertised results.

Undocumented Case Studies

Case studies should be backed by medical facts.  Before and after photos of someone in a wheelchair and then walking is not medical evidence that a product or medication actually works.

Accessibility Services, Inc. has been a premier provider of assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases for nearly three decades.  Our signature autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit / speech generating device with augmentative and alternative communication.  Therapists, assessors, rehab staff, quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis trust us to provide them with the most advanced, reliable and user friendly assistive technology on the market.  If you want to improve your quality of life, we can help.  Give us a call today!

ALS assistive technology

Part Two

We are continuing our series on the effects of limited social interaction.  The COVID-19 pandemic caused the country to limit social interaction like never before.  While being confined to the home has taken some getting used to for many people, it is a way of life for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We are continuing our series on the effects of limited interaction and the COVID-19 crisis in general.

Uncertainty

The COVID-19 crisis caused many to feel uncertain about the state of the world and their future.  A person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis lives with uncertainty each and every day.  They wonder about things such as how their disease will progress and when they will lose certain functions and need to rely on ALS assistive technology such as an environmental control until and/or ALS communication device to maintain a quality of life.

Desperate for a Cure

As folks anxiously wait for a cure for COVID-19, individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and their loved ones experience this type of urgency on a daily basis.  While ALS assistive technology can improve quality of life, a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis knows that their disease will progress and their only hope is a cure.

ALS is Lifelong

There will be an end to the COVID-19 crisis.  However, for a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, their struggle will continue for the rest of their life.

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant difficulties and problems throughout the world.  Our goal with these articles is to help people better understand a few of the many daily challenges and fears someone with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis faces each day.  Accessibility Services, Inc. stands ready to provide reliable and dependable ALS assistive technology solutions designed to promote independence and improve quality of life.  Give us a call to learn more today.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Part One

The average person was not required to “social distance” and “stay at home” until the COVID-19 pandemic.  While most of the country had to adapt to a new lifestyle many individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have had to live with aspects of social isolation since the onset of their disease. This article is the first of a two part series on how individuals with ALS have had to deal and adapt with limited social interaction.

Social Isolation

Social isolation includes not being able to participate in activities a person once enjoyed and/or communicate like they once were able.  While social distancing requires people to use their computers and tablets for video conferencing with business associates, family and friends, similar ALS communication methods have become a way of life for many with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Voice assistive technology with augmentative and alternative communication capabilities often becomes their only effective method of communication as the disease progresses.

Human Touch

We all miss shaking hands and hugging our friends when required to social distance.  While ALS assistive technology offers independence, a person whose amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has progressed is often times physically unable to freely give hugs and/or initiate a handshake.

Stress and Frustration

Most everyone has experienced increased stress or frustration when required to practice social distancing. A person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis often experiences this same type of stress and frustration with their limitations. Fortunately, ALS assistive technology (including an environmental control unit equipped with augmentative and alternative communication / ALS communication capabilities) can prove helpful in reducing limitations.

Accessibility Services, Inc. is a premier provider of assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Our signature autonoME is an environmental control unit with integrated voice assistive technology capabilities, making it one of the most sought after products on the market.  Give us a call to learn more about the autonoME today!

 

 

communication devices for quadriplegics

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and quadriplegia have some very similar characteristics.  They are also unique in their own ways.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has been developing and providing assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with ALS for more than three decades. Let’s take a look at some of their differences and similarities:

ALS is Progressive

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. Initially, a person with the disease may not need a custom environmental control unit or ALS communication device. However, as the disease progresses, ECU devices and voice assistive technology become necessary to improve quality of life.

Quadriplegics have lost the ability to use all four limbs and their torso. In some cases, speech may be affected as well. Assistive technology for quadriplegics is designed to accommodate individuals from the onset of their spinal cord injury. The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit / speech generating device for individuals with any level of spinal cord injury.

Neither Has a Cure

While there are promising treatments for both ALS and quadriplegia, there is still no cure for either.  The autonoME is designed to help individuals maintain some independence while drastically improving quality of life.

Prognosis Often Differs

In many cases, a quadriplegic can live for years or decades after their spinal cord injury.

The average lifespan of a person diagnosed with ALS is five years, although there have been instances of individuals such as Stephen Hawking who have lived 20+ years with the disease.

If you or a loved one is a quadriplegic or has been diagnosed with ALS, we can help.  Our integrated environmental control / communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases can transform the quality of life for you and your loved ones. Contact us to learn more today!

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

The ALS ice bucket challenge helped bring awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to millions of people worldwide. However, if you don’t personally know someone with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease is likely still somewhat of an unknown.

Our world is driven by television, entertainment and media.  Recently, two recognizable individuals in the entertainment world have revealed their struggles with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, thus helping to put a familiar face on ALS.

  • Forty-five year old actor Kenneth Mitchell of Star Trek: Discovery and Nancy Drew fame revealed he was diagnosed with ALS back in August 2018 and has been using a wheelchair since October 2019.
  • Famed Survivor contestant Jonathan Penner revealed his wife Stacey has been battling ALS since December 2017. Stacey, who made a brief appearance on the show back in 2006, is now completely immobile.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) works with therapists, assessors, rehab hospital staff, caregivers and families of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to provide ALS communication and environmental control units for those affected by the disease. Our newly re-designed autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit/speech generating device with full computing capabilities.  Its augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) features and multiple input methods make it ideal for individuals with any type of progressive disease, especially ALS.

Recently, the new autonoME Hospital became the first ever hospital ECU that offers environmental control, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and a fully integrated television experience. ASI continues to develop the most technologically advanced voice assistive technology and custom environmental control unit solutions on the market today.  If you, a loved one, or a patient are affected by ALS, give us a call to schedule a consultation today.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, debilitating disease for which there is no cure.  There are treatments that slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and many individuals affected by the disease find comfort in being able to incorporate a custom environmental control unit / ALS communication device into their daily routine to help improve their quality of life.

A 24-year-old medical student at Thomas Jefferson University by the name of Brittany File has been interviewing patients at the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center for the past two years. She soon became passionate about the disease as she heard stories of the patient’s hopes and struggles.  She has now published a book of original poetry titled, Stop Requested: A Collection of ALS Poetry. Her collection of poetry offers a unique perspective of this debilitating disease.

Read Full Story

We salute Brittany File on her willingness to share this inspiring poetry in an effort to shed a different light on ALS.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is the developer of the autonoME, which is a custom environmental control unit/speech generating device that features full computing capabilities all in a single, user-friendly interface. The autonoME is available in residential, hospital and portable versions and each operates using our proprietary software. The new and improved autonoME Hospital is the world’s first single device to offer augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), environmental control (hospital ECU), full computing capabilities and a fully integrated television experience. Give your friends at ASI a call to learn more about how the autonoME can transform the lives of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Voice Assistive Technology

(part two)

We are continuing our series on how voice assistive technology can ease the psychological impact of speech loss. Our previous article discussed how speech generating devices equipped with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities and various input methods such as touch, sip and puff, eye gaze and head tracking can help quadriplegics and individuals with progressive, debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) project a voice.  This article will discuss voice assistive technology and voice/message banking.

Voice/message banking allows individuals to “bank” their own voice, unique sayings and expressions.  This is especially important for ALS communication as the prognosis for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is eventual loss of speech. If individuals with ALS begin voice banking in the early stages of the disease, they will be able to communicate using their own voice, unique sayings and expressions via a speech generating device.  In a nutshell, voice assistive technology that uses voice/message banking allows a person to communicate using their own voice and normal tones and expressions.

Accessibility Services, Inc. continues to take their signature assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases to the next level. The all new autonoME Residential is a light-weight mobile device powered by ASI’s proprietary software. This custom environmental control unit/speech generating device incorporates Microsoft’sÒ trusted Surface Pro as the platform for environmental control, computer access and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).  Want to learn more about how the autonoME can significantly improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones?  Give ASI a call today.