Custom environmental control units have come a long way since their inception. Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has been on the forefront of this exciting technology that has transformed the lives of countless quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases and their caregivers. Our founder, Fred Thompson, founded ASI in 1991. His main focus at the time was to provide assistive technology for quadriplegics, especially veterans with spinal cord injuries. The company has since grown and now develops assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals living with diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
When it comes to ALS communication assistive technology, the autonoME’s different input methods come into play as the disease progresses. Individuals can operate the autonoME using input methods including voice, touch, sip and puff, eye gaze, and head tracking. A person with ALS may first use voice commands, then need a different input method such as eye gaze or head tracking as their disease progresses.
While an individual with ALS is still able to use their voice, it is recommended that they consider exploring how voice assistive technology works. Voice banking, as we discussed in a previous article, allows individuals to record their speech that will later be used to create a synthetic voice that sounds like their natural voice. ASI partners with the Acapela Group, utilizing their “my own voice” software to allow our clients to create a digital copy of their voice. Once an individual loses his/her speech, the voice assistive technology and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) features integrated in the autonoME allow them to speak using their chosen input method.
Part two of our series on voice assistive technology will cover message banking options. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ALS or another progressive disease, we can help. Veterans diagnosed with ALS may qualify to receive an autonoME custom environmental control unit with voice assistive technology through their VA benefits. Give us a call to learn more.
Message Banking, Voice Banking and Legacy Messages
John M. Costello
Boston Children’s Hospital