Communication Solutions for People with ALS
If you or a loved one is living with ALS, then you know how challenging it can become to stay engaged in the world around you. At some point in the progression of ALS, speech may be affected, a condition known as dysarthria. Depending on which muscles are affected, speech may be slowed, slurred, or softened. For some people, speaking may become impossible. However, the drive to communicate persists. For these people, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) may provide the answer.
What is AAC?
AAC is a term used to describe a range of communication tools including high-tech speech-generating devices, which are often funded by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or if you are a veteran, the VA. Funding from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) or ALS Association (ALSA) may also be available.
When is the right time to consider a speech-generating communication device?A person who is diagnosed with ALS should begin the process of investigating AAC solutions when difficulty with speech is first experienced – when speech starts to slur or slow to 90 -100 words per minute. The use of AAC does not mean that an individual with ALS will stop using his or her natural voice. An AAC system is meant to supplement any natural speech or gestures in order to help a person be understood in common settings.
See Others Who Have Succeeded
AAC helps those living with ALS to maintain communication independence as ALS progresses. It brings great benefits to both individuals living with ALS and their caregivers.
Identify Alternative Product Solutions
DynaVox AAC devices allow you to speak, send email, control your environment via infrared remote control, read e-books, and much more. They also allow you to “bank” your voice while you can still speak so you can use your natural voice as the condition progresses. Our EyeMax system is the latest technology, allowing you to do all of these things “hands free” through eye control.
Contact an SLP
A speech language pathologist who specializes in AAC will be able to perform an evaluation, determine if a device is appropriate, and make a device recommendation. Things to evaluate include both your current needs and how those needs may change as ALS progresses. In addition to your speech needs, you may also want a device to allow you to connect to the internet, talk on the telephone, or control your environment. Your SLP will take all these factors into consideration and be able to recommend a device to meet your current and future needs. Many ALSA and MDA centers employ SLPs. You can also check www.slplocator.com to find an SLP in your area.
Find Your Local Sales Consultant
Your DynaVox Sales Consultant is close-by and will work with you and the SLP. He or she can make a recommendation and then help you with product selection, evaluations, and funding.
You will likely qualify for speech device funding from Medicare, Medicaid or your private insurance company. Our funding specialists will step you through the requirements and will process and submit the paperwork.