Veterans and ALS

As we have discussed in a previous article, those who have served in the military appear to be at a higher risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  Additional studies point to the possibility that military veterans with the ALS may live longer than the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with the disease (long-duration ALS).  The study also found that veterans with long-duration ALS experienced onset at a younger age, tended to experience slower initial progression, and took longer to diagnose.

Read the Full Study

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) was founded by Fred Thompson in 1991 with the primary mission to help veterans.  ASI has been on the forefront of developing assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as ALS for nearly three decades.  Our proprietary autonoME is one of the most popular tools for quadriplegics and those with ALS because it is a combined custom environmental control unit/speech generating device.  Advanced voice assistive technology features such as voice banking and full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) make it a much sought after ALS communication device.

Although we have expanded our reach over the years, we still take our commitment to military veterans very seriously.  Not only do we employ many veterans, but we have installed our autonoME in Veteran’s Administration (VA) spinal cord injury units and have also worked with veteran’s who qualify to receive the autonoME through their VA benefits.

If you or a loved one is a veteran who has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), be sure to talk to your local VA representative about the autonoME. Give us a call to learn more today!

Fred Thompson – U.S. Army veteran – founded Accessibility Services, Inc. in 1989. His vision to was to customize and provide the most advanced environmental control units for disabled veterans with spinal cord injuries. Thompson was disappointed to find that in general, adaptive equipment for quadriplegics , communications devices for quadriplegics and quadriplegic assistive technologies were severely lacking.  Thus, he expanded the company’s mission and focus to include the unique and exceptional needs of the entire quadriplegic community.

Veterans have and always will remain an important part of ASI.  Not only do we hire veterans, but we proudly serve veterans.  Many of Veterans Administration (VA) Spinal Cord Injury Units (SCI) are equipped with our proprietary autonoME, which combines an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SCG) in one convenient package.  Having an ECU in hospital settings not only benefits patients, but caregivers and hospital staff as well.

We also offer quadriplegic assistive technology to individuals in residential settings.  In some cases, the VA will even pay for the autonoME. We have equipped hundreds of homes of veterans with spinal cord injuries with adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, including the autonoME. If you or someone you love is a veteran with s spinal cord injury, we encourage you to contact your VA representative to see what type of quadriplegic assistive technology you qualify to receive through the VA.  In many cases, communication devices for quadriplegics and environmental control units for disabled individuals (i.e. the autonoME) are covered.

If you are a disabled veteran with a spinal cord injury, we welcome the opportunity to help you and your family.  The Military Times has an excellent article about VA compensation for veterans with spinal cord injuries.

As you probably already know, everyone here at ASI are huge advocates of independence. We’ve built our business on and dedicated our lives to helping quadriplegics achieve independence in their lives. Perhaps this is why stories like the one below touch our hearts:

(Unfortunately, removed the story from their website.)

Talk about independence – whoa!!!  This group of paraplegics and quadriplegics had the opportunity to go indoor skydiving thanks to the Determined2Heal Foundation.  From the looks of things, everyone had a blast! How many of you are brave enough to try it?

Seeing individuals who are quadriplegics due to spinal cord injury or debilitating diseases such as MS and ALS enjoy the freedom of flying is truly incredible. We, too, work every day to improve the lives of quadriplegics.  There is nothing more gratifying than walking into the home of a quadriplegic and installing a custom environmental control unit designed to give them the freedom to control their surroundings.  Or, knowing that our signature autonoME environmental control unit/speech generating device is being used in hospitals and Veteran’s Administration Spinal Cord Injury Units across the United States to help quadriplegics become more independent.

Do you or a loved one have an inspiring story of independence to share?  If so, send us a quick e-mail or give us a call.  We would love to feature you on our website and even possibly write a press release or story about your adventure!

Summer is just around the corner, which means people will be dusting off their grills and preparing their Memorial Day picnics.  As time passes, it seems the true meaning of Memorial Day has started to fade.  While many older generations understand the purpose for the holiday, newer generations sometimes either don’t understand or misinterpret its true meaning.  As we prepare for the upcoming holiday weekend, we thought it would be a respectful gesture to highlight some often overlooked facts about Memorial Day:

  1. Memorial Day was originally known as Declaration Day.
  1. It was founded in the post-Civil War era.
  1. Memorial Day officially became a federal holiday in 1971.
  1. Often confused with Veteran’s Day which honors all who have served in the U.S. armed forces, Memorial Day commemorates all those who have died in service to the United States.
  1. A National Moment of Remembrance is observed at 3:00pm local time each and every Memorial Day. During this time, American’s are asked to pause for one full minute to honor those who have died serving the United States.

ASI honors all of the brave individuals who have died defending the United States.  This Memorial Day, as we take time off to spend the day with our own families, we will also be observing a moment of silence and remembering the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all know and enjoy today.

photo credit:

If you or someone you love is a veteran, the Veterans Administration (VA) has recently launched a new website you will definitely want to check out:

When you land on the website home page, you will find four areas:

  1. How Quickly Can My VA Facility See Me?

Click on this area to determine how quickly you can be seen at a particular VA clinic and to explore same-day services and other healthcare options. You can then access a map which allows you to input your address/location, radius you are able to travel for care, clinic type (i.e. primary care, women’s health, etc.) and visit type.  You can then conduct a search to see appointment wait times at facilities within your search radius. If you have an urgent need, you can use the Same Day Health Services map to explore options.

  1. How Satisfied Are Veterans with Their Care in My Facility?

This function allows you to search VA facilities within a certain radius to see what other veterans are saying about access to care.

  1. How Does Care in My VA Facility Compare to Other Hospital in the Area?

This section allows you to compare VA facilities with hospitals located within the same general geographical area.

  1. How is the VA System Doing with Access Nationally?

Review the latest statistics on how timely care is within the VA system and how quickly a patient can be seen by a specialist in the VA system.

Accessibility Services, Inc. is proud to work with the VA to provide qualifying veteran’s – both at home and in VA spinal cord injury units – with the autonoME environmental control unit/speech generating device. Robert Oxford is just one of the hundreds of veterans who have benefited from receiving the autonoME through the VA. Watch his story.

Veterans Administration BenefitsVeterans with qualifying disabilities may be eligible to receive the autonoME environmental control unit/speech generating device free of charge through the Veterans Administration (VA).  In fact, we have customized and installed the autonoME in the homes of hundreds of veterans.

The autonoME is specifically designed for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and quadriplegics as well as individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  It allows individuals to completely control their environment (i.e. turn on fan/lights, control their bed, television and telephone, call a nurse or caregiver, open a door, use a computer, etc.).  Each autonoME is customized for the client and can be operated using a number of technologies.  For instance, the autonoME can be equipped so non-verbal individuals can control the unit using their eyes, etc.

When you receive your autonoME, you are not on your own to figure it out.  We understand everyone has different needs, so we send a technician to your home to customize and install the package and work with you and your caregiver on how to utilize its features.  We also provide ongoing customer support, which we personally handle. If you or a loved one are a quadriplegic, have a brain or spinal cord injury or disease such as ALS, talk with your VA representative to see what benefits you may qualify to receive.

The VA also publishes an online guide, Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors. It is well worth checking out!

Lisa Swiger

Lisa Swiger

ASI was very excited to be invited as a guest on Veterans Radio.  Our own Lisa Swiger talked with Veterans Radio hosts Bob Gould and Dale Throneberry about the autonoME, which is installed in several Veterans Administration (VA) Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) units through the U.S. They also touched on how veterans who are quadriplegic or have a debilitating disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or multiple sclerosis (MS) may qualify to receive an autonoME through the VA.


If you have not yet tuned into Veterans Radio, we strongly encourage you to do so.  The show has been on the air for 14 years. It airs live every Sunday from 5-6pm on WAAM Talk 1600 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and reaches thousands around the globe through live streaming and podcasts. They are doing an incredible service to veterans by covering the latest news, products, books and information of interest to the veteran’s community, as well as sharing listener’s stories and experiences.

We want to extend a special thank you to Bob Gould for inviting us on the show and recognizing the importance of the autonoME and how it is being used to help veterans. We also would like to thank Dale Throneberry who also asked some very pertinent questions directed toward how the autonoME benefits veterans.

Check out the show and let us know what you think!

Veterans Radio featured in Hour Detroit.

Read about ASI in US MedicineA pilot program in Memphis is bringing VA closer to meeting what perhaps is the greatest desire for its 42,000 veterans with spinal-cord injuries and disorders: more control of their environment.

VA Memphis will roll out the “autonoME” environmental control unit (ECU) from Accessibility Services Inc., which will enable that spinal-cord unit’s 60 patients to do things such as adjust their beds, call a nurse, use the Internet, select music and make phone calls, even if they can only move their eyes.

Read about ASI in US Medicine