Grid 3 Software – Why We Choose It for Our Customized Quadriplegic Assistive Technologies (Part Two)

This article is one of a series of articles discussing why Grid 3 software is ideal for quadriplegic assistive technology.  Communications devices for quadriplegics need to have custom options, as no two disabilities are alike. Today we will discuss accessible tools and apps, input methods and computer control.

Grid 3 software accessible tools and apps

Speech generating devices and environmental control units for disabled individuals (i.e. the autonoME, which combined both speech and environmental control features) can be a lifeline for a person with the disability and their caregivers.  Grid 3 software includes accessible apps, tools and Grid Sets for home, work and school that allow the user to do just about anything, including:

  • Taking photos
  • Using an Android telephone
  • Sending text messages
  • Listening to music
  • Send e-mails
  • Using Social Media – Facebook/Twitter/YouTube

Input Methods

Grid 3 software includes apps, tools and Grid Sets that can be controlled using various input methods, which is an important feature with any type of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics:

  • Touch
  • Voice
  • Eye Gaze
  • Switch Scanning (including Sip and Puff)
  • Head Tracking

Computer Control

Grid 3 software allows users to control their Windows based computers.  They can surf the web, send e-mails with attachments, watch videos, and operate numerous computer applications using the computer control options that are most comfortable for them:

  • Zoom to click
  • Dwell to click
  • Switch
  • Radar mouse
  • SwiftKey prediction

Grid 3 software and the versatility of the autonoME’s speech generation device (SGD) and environmental control unit (ECU) features is what makes it the preferred SGD / ECU in hospital and residential settings.

Grid 3 Software – Why We Choose It for Our Customized Quadriplegic Assistive Technologies (Part One)

Grid 3 software is the industry gold standard when it comes to environmental control units for disabled individuals and communications devices for quadriplegics.  No disability or debilitating disease is alike, which is why it is best to customize any type of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) not only customizes our products to fit the needs of each individual, but we also equip our products with the powerful Grid 3 software.

Let’s take a look at how Grid 3 software makes environmental control units for disabled individuals and communication devices for quadriplegics so user friendly:

Revolutionary

Grid 3 software is truly revolutionary, as it is the first complete software solution that truly caters to the quadriplegic.  Assistive technologies have historically not been the most user friendly for quadriplegics, but the Grid 3 definitively changes that!

Your Own Words

The autonoME (both an environmental control unit and a speech generating device) powered by Grid 3 is one of the few communication devices for quadriplegics that offers a plethora of voice selections that can be tailored to belong to the user.

Full Environmental Control

Environmental control units for disabled individuals are sometime lacking in features. The autonoME equipped with the powerful Grid 3 software allows for full control of the environment, including lights, beds, doors, television, telephone, nurse and/or caregiver call and more!

Grid Sets

Customize your autonoME even further by downloading your favorite grid sets!!

Part two will cover additional Grid 3 software features including accessible tools and apps, input methods, and computer control.

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

autonoMEgo 3Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a term used to describe communication methods designed to either supplement or replace writing or speech. AAC may be needed either on a temporary or permanent basis. AAC is commonly used to refer to individuals with language and speech impairments caused by conditions including spinal cord injuries, quadriplegia and debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). AAC may be needed permanently or used on a temporary basis following surgeries or traumatic events which render a person unable to use speech or written communication for a certain period of time.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) designed the autonoME to be an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device with full AAC capabilities. This means that not only can it be used to control lights, doors, television remotes, beds, fans blinds, etc., but it can also be used for communication. In a nutshell, individuals needing AAC can input words or phrases into the autonoME and it will speak for them.

What makes the autonoME ideal for AAC is that it can be customized to accommodate the user’s preferred input methods. Sip and puff, eye gaze, touchscreen, head tracking, foot switching and grasp switches are among the different ways the user can control AAC. In fact, the autonoME features not one but two switch input ports, which allows for optimal customization.

The autonoME is powered by Grid 3 software which allows for the download of various grid sets, many of which help users learn and become proficient with AAC. If you are looking for a solution combining both AAC and environmental control, the autonoME may be just what you need. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how the autonoME can provide reliable AAC for you or a loved one.

Suddenly a Quadriplegic

We were moved by a story of a husband, father and business executive in Australia.  It seemed Darren Houghton lived a quiet, normal, everyday life until one day, tragedy suddenly struck.  Darren fell off a balcony in his home, breaking his neck and crushing his spinal cord.  The accident left him a C4 incomplete quadriplegic, which meant complete paralysis of his right arm and limited use of his legs and left arm. Life had suddenly changed…

Read Darren’s Story

A spinal cord injury can make healthy, able bodied people become quadriplegics. A spinal cord injury is not only physically devastating, but emotionally devastating for the quadriplegic and his/her friends and family as the loss of independence quickly takes a toll on everyone.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has spent decades on researching the most effective and innovative environmental control units designed to not only restore independence for quadriplegics, but also provide peace of mind to their loved ones as well.

When we visit someone with a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease, the first thing we do is assess their situation. Quadriplegics are all unique and have different needs, which is why a one size fits all approach is generally not effective or advisable.  ASI customizes our environmental control units to fit each person.  We also trust the reliability of Grid 3 software to ensure our environmental control units operate at peak performance.

If you or someone you love is a quadriplegic as a result of a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease, give us a call.  We can work with you to customize an environmental control unit powered by Grid 3 software to help you achieve independence!

Grid 3.0.27 – Available in Early Access

It’s time for another Grid 3 software update.  New features in the latest Grid 3 software update include:

  • EyeTech cameras now include a two-point calibration option. This new feature offers an effective and easy way to get started with eye gaze with better accuracy near the edges of the screen
  • Flash cards featuring larger font sizes, from 106pt – 570pt
  • Additional style option featuring new cell shape with a colored corner
  • Switch scanning performance improvements
  • Increased performance when opening grid sets

Grid 3 software bug fixes include:

  • Alea camera monitor now has a border
  • Alea monitor no longer appears over the top of the menu bar
  • Alea no longer makes accidental selections when breaking eye contact with camera
  • Letter commands now operate in writing areas
  • Auto replace no longer causes some corrected words not to be spoken

Why is an Environmental Control Unit So Important?

Imagine suddenly not being able to walk, talk, type on a keyboard, open your window shades, turn on a fan or tune your television to your favorite television show.  For thousands of quadriplegics and individuals with a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease, this nightmare has become a harsh reality.  Dealing with the physical aspects of a disability is difficult enough.  Discovering you no longer have the ability to do simple things – things we all take for granted –

Is one of the most devastating aspects of a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease.  Often, especially in the case of quadriplegics, depression and despair quickly takes over.  However, there is hope.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) provides custom environmental control units to quadriplegics and individuals facing debilitating diseases.

What is an Environmental Control Unit?

Environmental control units allow users to control items such as their lights, phone, bed, television, doors, thermostat, ceiling fans and computer.  An environmental control unit is a special type of computerized device which allows individuals to control their surroundings.

What is a Custom Environmental Control Unit?

A spinal cord injury, disability or disease affect each person in a different way.  Some may retain some movement in their fingers, while others may only have the ability to move their eyes. A custom environmental control unit is one with features designed to accommodate the needs of each specific individual. ASI’s autonoME takes this one step further in that it is a custom environmental control unit with augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) capabilities.  So, not only can an individual control their environment, the autonoME’s AAC features allow them to communicate as well.

Restoring independence is probably one of the most – if not the most – important part of helping quadriplegics come to terms with their spinal cord injury or disease. A custom environmental control unit not only helps the individual, but also gives their caregiver(s) a sense of peace as well.

Our next article will discuss the various input methods that can be incorporated into a custom environmental control unit.

 

Phonics for All Now available in Grid 3

Accessibility Services, Inc. recently made history by installing the autonoMe (environmental control unit/speech generating device) in the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The autonoME’s – used for both environmental control and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – were the first devices of their kind installed in a pediatric hospital in the state of Minnesota.

We are often asked if the autonoME is designed for children.  The answer is – YES! The autonoME is ideal for quadriplegics of all ages, including children. It is equipped with Grid 3 software, which includes a variety of tools and grid set designed specifically for children.

One new grid set is called, Phonics for All.   This innovative addition to Grid 3 features reading and spelling grid sets designed to support users of AAC who are in the process of learning to read and write.  It teaches key sounds in the English language, enabling users to sound out words.  This grid set is backed by research and designed to encourage independent learning. Key features of Phonics for All include:

  • A complete AAC tool supporting learners on their way to using synthetic phonics
  • Simple structure that complements other phonics programs
  • Assesses learning needs and progress
  • Built specifically to support all methods of access
  • Includes comprehension, so users with complex needs can begin to read for meaning alongside acquisition of phonic knowledge

If you have a child who needs an autonoME, contact us today.  We are happy to talk with you about the environmental control and AAC features available to help both you and your child.

Latest Grid 3 Software Update – Grid 3.0.26 is Now Live

It is a good practice to keep your autonoME (environmental control unit/speech generating device) and/or Grid Pad powered by Grid 3 software up to date to ensure optimal performance.

The latest Grid 3 software update – Grid 3.0.26 – is now available for download. New features include:

  • Option for Eye Gaze calibration to view video feed from EyeTech cameras including option to add this feature to a grid set using the new Eye Gaze monitor video command
  • Ability to turn off the tracking indicator lights for EyeTech cameras (helpful for users who are distracted by the lights).
  • One-point calibration option for EyeTech cameras, which allows a new user to get started without requiring a long attention span
  • Ability to add more actions to environment control accessories including alarm, blind, set-top box, and television
  • New ‘Relay’ environment control accessory
  • Button to open the Windows game Controller settings when setting up switches

Bug fixes include:

  • Cursor can be seen when using the “move the mouse” computer control option on touch screen devices
  • Switching between eye gaze click methods no longer requires multiple selections to switch
  • Clicking an empty writing area no longer causes prediction cells to change
  • Long hold can now be used with hold
  • Grids with only music auto content cells no longer show a “This grid set is empty” message
  • Fix the fact that music auto content cells could be scanned during the initial scan activation

ASI’s Brice Green Selected to Present at the 2018 Assistive Technology Industry Conference (ATIA)

Our own Brice Green has been selected to present at the ATIA 2018 conference in Orlando, Florida held January 21st – February 3rd, 2018.  Green will be presenting a session titled, Combining Environmental Control with Speech Generation to Achieve Maximum Independence.  According to Green:

“Effectively combining environmental control with speech generation can be challenging, especially when the patient is required to use multiple devices, platforms and software. The autonoME, developed by Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI), is unique in that it combines both an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD) into one complete package. This allows once mobile and verbal individuals now faced with losing their independence the ability to control their environment and generate speech using one single interface. The autonoME’s advanced augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) offers versatility and features which can be customized to meet the specific needs of each patient.  Most importantly, it is powered by the easy to learn and user friendly Grid 3 software. The efficacy of the autonoME has been quite impressive in both residential and hospital settings.”

We are excited to have the opportunity to discuss in-depth how this technology can benefit quadriplegics, and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and progress forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Special thank you to Smartbox who invited us to apply to speak at this conference.  Neil Hanson, Commercial Director of Smartbox, will be flying in from the UK to join us for the presentation.

If you are planning to attend ATIA 2018, please let us know.  We will be happy to schedule a personalized live demonstration of the autonoME for you!

Parachuting, Anyone?

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:

Check this out:

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!