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.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Last month we covered amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and loss of speech.  This article is going to take a look at bulbar disease and ALS.

Bulbar disease originates in the brainstem and causes difficulty with speaking and swallowing.  New research indicates that bulbar disease may be detected in its early stages in individuals affected by ALS.  Bulbar testing is conducted by examining the tongue movement and control during speech, specifically strength, range and speed of movement.

An article in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research suggests that mechanistic measurements of the tongue and jaw could improve the assessment of a motor speech disorder that results from ALS.  The study suggested a reduction in the size and duration of tongue movements may be an early indicator of changes in bulbar function at early stages of the disease.  The most significant differences were seen in individuals with advanced stage bulbar ALS.

ALS communication assistive technology has advanced significantly over the years.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has seen an increase in individuals affected by the disease seeking an ALS communication device.  The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities and features.  What makes the autonoME such an effective ALS communication device is its different input methods which allows the device to be operated at varying stages of the disease.

If you or someone you know are affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you are not alone.  Whether you are in the early stages or have an advanced form of the disease, an ALS communication device can make such a difference and improve a person’s quality of life. Give us a call to find out how ALS assistive technology such as the autonoME can help.

Read More About Bulbar Testing and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS

Our last article discussed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and loss of speech.  This article will cover loss of movement.

The loss of independence is probably one of the most significant physical and mental obstacles for individuals with ALS and their family and friends to accept.  The good news is ALS assistive technology has advanced significantly over the years.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has remained ahead of the technology curve and continues to develop the most advanced environmental control units for disabled individuals on the market.  The autonoME is a combined speech generating device/environmental control unit designed to restore both confidence and independence.

The autonoME allows individuals with ALS to control their television sets, lights, fans, bed, telephone, doors and more. Windows 10 features give individuals full computing capabilities including access to the internet, word processing, games, videos and various computer programs.  The autonoME is also equipped with a caregiver/nurse call switch.  Caregivers take comfort in knowing their loved one has the ability to either call them or call for help if needed.  It also takes small burdens off of caregivers who no longer need to change television channels or turn on the fan.

Family and friends can spend more quality time with their loved ones thanks to the autonoME.  And, as discussed in our previous article, its full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities makes conversation possible.

When it comes to ALS assistive technology, you can trust ASI to be one step ahead.  After nearly three decades of working with environmental control units for disabled individuals, we’ve seen a lot and made significant strides in helping people affected by ALS, spinal cord injuries and other progressive diseases achieve their independence.  If you would like to learn more about how the autonoME can help you or a friend/family member, give ASI a call today!

ALS

Our next series of articles will discuss how amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects a person’s family and friends.  Family and friends of an individual diagnosed with ALS often experience a learning curve when it comes to interacting, assisting and working with their loved one. ALS assistive technology, including environmental control units for disabled individuals and a speech generating device are designed to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by ALS .

ALS often affects one’s speech as the disease progresses. The automoME is an integrated custom environmental control unit/speech generating device with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities.  This type of ALS communication device is designed for individuals with varying levels or progression of disease.  Several input methods, such as touch, switch scanning/sip and puff, eye gaze and head tracking can all be used to control the autonoME.

Although there is a learning curve with any accessibility assistive technology, the automoME is very user friendly.  When we install the autonoME, our technicians take time to provide a tutorial for both the individual using the device and their caregivers.  It’s superior AAC capabilities and easy to use interface gives individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis the ability to speak and communicate once again.  This is not only life changing for them, but also has a positive impact on their family and friends as well.  There is nothing more touching than hearing someone who is having challenges with speech to actually be able to say “I love you” to their loved ones again!

The autonoME’s superior AAC features coupled with its environmental control capabilities makes it the preferred ALS assistive technology package on the market today. If you would like to learn about how the autonoME can help you gain more independence, 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.