More and more occupational and physical therapists are realizing the benefit of utilizing environmental control units for disabled individuals in hospital settings.  An environmental control unit (ECU) is a type of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and individuals with various types of disabilities.  It allows patients, especially those with spinal cord injuries, to gain control of their surroundings and experience independence.  Incorporating an ECU in hospital settings can significantly benefit both the patient and care staff.  Not all hospitals are equipped with an ECU.  Hospital staff and therapists who have worked with ECU’s report the following advantages:

  • Ability for patients to control their surroundings
  • Bed control
  • Television control
  • Ability to make phone calls
  • Ability to play games and access the Internet

ASI has installed our signature autonoME in spinal cord injury units throughout the country.  The autonoME is both an ECU and communications device for quadriplegics, which means it also helps individuals communicate in addition to controlling their environment.

The autonoME can be equipped with various input methods to accommodate the needs of a wide range of individuals.  Touch screen, voice activation, sip ‘n puff, head tracking and eye gaze can all be used to control the autonoME. In many cases, patients who have used an ECU in hospital settings will also purchase one when they transition home. Perhaps the biggest advantage of incorporating an ECU in hospital settings is that the patient will have already learned how to use the unit when they return home.

There are countless benefits of an ECU.  Hospital based physical and occupational therapists are turning to this type of quadriplegic assistive technologies to help their patients adapt to their injury or disease and ultimately gain independence.

Want to learn more? Contact ASI today for a complimentary demonstration

Grid 3 Software UpdateBe sure to keep your Grid 3 software up to date to ensure your unit is equipped with the latest and greatest features.  The Grid 3.0.30 update includes:

  • Merged Quick Write and Write commands to make editing easier
  • A new, simpler Write command
  • Cells now remember the predictions when you return to a grid thanks to the new ‘Last suggested’ option for populating prediction cells in Word lists.
  • Brazilian Portuguese is now supported
  • Improved chat history and editing
  • Faster saving
  • Enhanced Dropbox capabilities – it no longer requires attention when waking a device from standby
  • Grid 3 Tobii calibrations now persist across sessions
  • Improved EyeTech camera usability
  • Eye gaze monitor no longer displays the face rather than an empty cell when a camera is not configured
  • Prediction cells no longer go blank after completing a word when using a Word list
  • Suggested words appear faster

Update today!!!

Yes, You Can Play!

Many people think that actively participating in sports is over once they become a quadriplegic.  Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, including environmental control units for disabled individuals, have made it possible to do more than ever before. Communication devices for quadriplegics have even given a person who has lost their ability to speak the freedom to talk once again.  Quadriplegic assistive technology has advanced so much over the years that what once seemed impossible is now possible.  Participating in high impact sports is one area where adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has made a significant difference.  Let’s take a look at some sports that are popular with quadriplegics:

  1. Quad Rugby – aka Murderball: This fast-paced sport is probably one of the most popular to play and watch.  The 2005 movie, Murderball brought even more attention to this action-packed sport which is played indoors on a hard court.  The game, which is an adaptation of traditional rugby, permits and even encourages physical contact between wheelchairs as individuals compete to score goals for their team.
  1. Power Soccer – This twist on traditional soccer features players going head to head to score goals in electric wheelchairs. The United States Power Soccer Association is the governing body of this competitive team sport.
  1. Wheelchair Bowling – Advances in adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has made it possible for an individual with any level of disability to participate in this popular sport.
  1. Canoeing/Kayaking – Canoeing and kayaking are also sports that benefit from adaptive equipment for quadriplegics. Boats can be outfitted to allow all levels of quadriplegics to participate.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) promotes and encourages quadriplegics to regain their independence.  Do you or a quadriplegic you know play a sport?  If so, please send us pictures and we will post them on our website.

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.

Grid 3 Software UpdateBe sure to keep your Grid3 software up to date.  Each update offers new features and fixes designed to enhance the performance and function of your autonoME and/or Grid Pad device.  Grid 3.0.30 includes:

  • Merging of the Quick Write and Write commands to make editing easier.
  • Incorporation of a new ‘Last suggested’ option for populating prediction cells when using Word lists. Cells now remember the predictions.
  • Additional language support to include Brazilian Portuguese
  • Enhancements and performance upgrades for chat history, editing and faster saving
  • Dropbox no longer requires attention when waking a device from standby
  • Grid 3 Tobii calibrations have been corrected
  • Improved EyeTech camera
  • The eye gaze monitor now shows an empty cell when a camera is not configured
  • Prediction cells no longer go blank after completing a word using a Word list
  • Suggested words now appear faster

Grid 3 software is the perfect planform to use in environmental control units for disabled individuals.  In fact, the autonoME – powered by Grid 3 software – is one of the most sought after packages for quadriplegics.  Assistive technologies continue to evolve, and the autonoME with Grid 3 software is designed to keep you ahead of this ever-changing curve.

Attending ATIA
ASI’s Brice Green will be presenting a session alongside our good friend Neil Hansen from Smartbox at the 2018 Assistive Technology Industry (ATIA) conference held on January 30th – February 3rd at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida:

Combining Environmental Control with Speech Generation to Achieve Maximum Independence
Thursday, February 1st
11:00am
Exhibit Hall Theater
Session Code: ATIF-22
Strand: Assistive Technology for Improved Function

Brice would love to meet you and give you a live demonstration of the autonoME. If you cannot make the seminar but will be in Orlando during this time, just let us know and we will schedule a time for you and Brice to connect.

We look forward to seeing you at ATIA!

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) has improved vastly over the years, especially in quadriplegic assistive technologies.  The autonoME is not only an environmental control unit for disabled individuals, but it is also one of the most advanced communication devices for quadriplegics on the market today. Powered by Grid 3 software, the autonoME offers one of the most comfortable platforms to introduce AAC.

Simple AAC is specifically designed for individuals learning AAC.  It offers and easy to follow and understand strategy to help user get acquainted with AAC.  Communications devices for quadriplegics can be intimidating at first, but once the user begins to understand the technology and how it can work for them, it opens up an entirely new world of opportunities.

The autonoME can be equipped with Simple AAC for use in both residential and hospital settings.  As an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD), it is the one piece of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics that offers the best of all worlds. As in ECU in hospital settings, it is ideal to help individuals realize their independence while taking the load off of staff, while the AAC capabilities make it one of the best communications devices for quadriplegics.  Feedback from speech therapists, nurses and caregivers indicate that Simple AAC is one of the most comfortable ways to introduce AAC.

Are you interested in learning more about the autonoME and Simple AAC?  Give us a call today!

Grid 3 Software – The Gold Standard in Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationHere is a sneak peek of the Grid 3.0.39. The newest Grid 3 software update which will be available soon is now in Early Access.

  • Record messages directly in Grid 3 via the new “record message” command for Message banking.
  • Grid 3 software will now support the Irisbond Duo eye gaze camera with this update.

Improvements:

  • Message banking recordings are now assigned to the top-level messages category by default.
  • Writing area no longer temporarily freezes when Chat History messages are chosen in quick succession
  • The Change camera toggle cell now changes color
  • Auto-replace no longer incorrectly triggers the “Speak whilst typing sentence” command
  • Write time and write date commands now add a space after the time / date in the writing area
  • Selecting change label twice no longer deletes text

Grid 3 Software UpdateVersion 3.0.28 is now available

The latest version of Grid 3 software is now available. New features include:

  • Message banking – this augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) feature enables users to record phrases that can be played at any time. Record and manage messages in Speech settings
  • Fast Talker 3 includes a new ‘Message banking’ section (you will need to add Fast Talker 3 to Grid Explorer)
  • Choose between a border or background highlight with new highlighting options for switch elimination
  • Audio feedback is available for individuals with visual impairment via the new ‘Play sound when activated’ setting for Voice access.

Improvements include:

  • Symbols for ‘small words’ no longer displayed in predictions
  • Music volume starts at 50% upon opening a grid set
  • Sleep screen is compatible with custom Windows power plans
  • Mouse control glide lines are now more visible
  • The ‘suggest words’ command no longer occasionally displays incorrect symbols

Grid 3 Software – The Gold Standard in Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationThis 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.