The autonoME’s full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capability and environmental control make it possible for quadriplegics to continue their education and pursue their dreams.  You probably remember the story of Manny Galan, the young man from North Port, Florida who aspires to study nuclear engineering with the help of his new autonoME. Did you know that Microsoft sponsors a scholarship for high school seniors with disabilities who desire to attend a college or university?

Students demonstrating a passion for technology and planning to attend an undergraduate program and declare a major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, law, business or a related field can apply for a $5000 Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship.  This is a perfect way to help jump start your higher education and future career. Individuals equipped with the autonoME are already set to begin their studies thanks to the integrated Windows operating system.

If you or someone you know is a high school senior with a disability, consider applying for this scholarship.  You must complete an application, write three essays and submit your resume, photo and high school transcripts. The application deadline is April 15th, and awardees will be notified by May 7th.

Good luck!

Details and application for the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship.

 

Life is very precious – and often times much more fragile than we think.  The dedicated staff at ASI works with quadriplegics every day.  And, each day, we meet people whose lives have been changed forever.  The truth is, we are all just one accident or disease away from being one of the clients we serve.  We come to work each and every day with the mindset of doing what we do to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.  One aspect we love about our jobs is the fact that we focus on personalized customer service.  Many companies simply send their units to clients and provide technical support through an outsourced call center.  At ASI, our technicians visit each home, hospital or facility where the unit is being installed.  We not only perform the installation, but we train individuals, caregivers and therapists on how to use the unit and how optimize it to serve the clients specific needs.  We are also available for ongoing technical support, so our clients never have to feel alone.

Why is customer service and support so important to us?  For one, we truly care about the people we serve.  We also enjoy meeting them and getting to know them.  We often spend extra time just chatting and sharing experiences with our clients.  You see, 99% of the individuals we serve were fully functional until they were dealt a hand which changed their lives – and the lives of those who love them – forever.

Below is a link to an inspiring story of a military veteran who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).  He is not letting the disease control or define him. In fact, he says it has freed him up to do other things, including ministering to patients in hospitals and nursing homes:

Read Story

There are various stages and types of MS.  In its most progressive form, individuals with the disease often find renewed hope and independence from environmental control units (ECUs) and augmentative alternative communication (AAC).  If you or someone you know has a progressive form of MS and would like to learn more about how we can help, give us a call.  We would love to talk with you.

 

A Closer Look at the autonoME The autonoME package was born out of the need to combine environmental control with speech generation.  The result is a more compact and convenient package designed with the quadriplegic and his/her caregivers in mind.  The autonoME not only features full environmental control, but augmentative alternative communication (AAC) as well.  And, let’s not forget to mention value added features such as entertainment, games, Internet and full computer control. Did you know the autonoME allows you to do the following:

  • Read books through Kindle reader
  • Watch You Tube videos
  • Play games such as solitaire and chess
  • Tune in to Internet radio
  • Download music and videos
  • Manage Social Media profiles, including Facebook and Twitter
  • Compose and read e-mail
  • Use Windows based programs, including Microsoft Office
  • Take and send photos and selfies
  • Maintain an address book
  • Use a calculator
  • ….and more!

Some people, such as individuals with ALS, come to us in early stages of their disease.  In cases such as these, the voice banking feature can be used. This allows individuals to record and save certain phrases while their voice is still intact.  These recordings can later be used with the autonoME’s speech generation feature, allowing the individual to communicate using saved phrases in their own voice.

We are continually making changes and improvements to the autonoME to ensure our clients have access to the latest and greatest features and technology.  The primary reason people choose ASI and the autonoME is because we customize the unit to fit your needs, install the unit, and train you and/or your caregiver on how it works.  We also provide ongoing technical support directly through ASI. When you call us, you get us – not an outsourced call center.  This personalized service can make an incredible difference when it comes to maximizing the use and capabilities of your autonoME.

Are you interested in learning more about how the automoME can drastically improve the lives of you or a loved one?  If so, give us a call. We will be happy to conduct a free consultation.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating, progressive neurogenerative disease that impairs the brain’s ability to control muscle movement.  ALS leads to complete paralysis, which is why people affected by the disease become quadriplegics.  ALS is devastating for both the person with the disease as well as their family and friends.

However, some promising new research released earlier this month hints that a natural occurring molecule may possibly slow the progression of ALS.  The discovery by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute offers new hope in the battle to fight ALS. Read the article from News Medical Life Sciences to learn more.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) serves numerous individuals with ALS. You may remember the story of Michael Kelly, the United States Army veteran diagnosed with the disease.  Michael discovered a new sense of independence thanks to the autonoME.  Eric Chapman is another client with ALS who experiences independence as the result of the Grid Pad environmental control unit (ECU) we donated and installed for him.

There is nothing we would like more than to see ALS cured.  However, until a cure is found, ASI will be readily available to work with clients to identify the best augmentative assistive communications (AAC), ECU and speech generating device (SGD) solutions to help them achieve independence despite this devastating disease.

A friendly reminder – The Veteran’s Administration (VA) considers ALS a service-related disability.  If you are a veteran with ALS, contact ASI today.  The VA may fully subsidize your autonoME.

Our autonoME environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generating device (SGD) package offers the most comprehensive and latest features available for the commercial marketplace. ASI has earned a reputation for remaining on the cutting edge of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and environmental control. As a result, our autonoME packages have gone through numerous upgrades and transformations over the years.

There was some promising new research recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  A 58-year-old woman with late-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) experienced astounding results with an experimental brain implant software program. This implant allowed her to actually control the on-screen keyboard of a SGD using her brain. Imagine being able to control your ECU/SGD with thought waves.  This could revolutionize the industry, much like eye gaze did when it was successfully launched.

Could this be the wave of the future?  Only time will tell, but this is certainly very promising news, not just for individuals with ALS, but all quadriplegics.  ASI will be monitoring this research very closely.

Read more here: Brain implant helps ALS patient “speak”

michael-lawrenceWe are excited to announce the recent promotion of Michael Lawrence to Product Representative for the northeastern United States. He joined ASI in February 2014 while still in college. He was promoted to Inventory Specialist and then to Sales Operations Coordinator before being elevated to his current position. As Sales Operations Coordinator, Lawrence focused on data collection and analysis to help determine key market areas. His new role affords him the opportunity to develop new business relationships and oversee quality assurance for current customers within the northeastern U.S.

“Michael is an example of an employee who advanced quickly within our company as a result of his hard work and dedication to the individuals we serve,” says Brice Green, Product & Sales Manager for ASI. “We are very fortunate to have an incredible team of individuals so passionate about improving the lives of quadriplegics and their families.”

Lawrence graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia Southern University in August 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership (concentration in Marketing and Psychology).

David “Barney” Miller has lived life as a quadriplegic for 17 years.  After a tragic car accident, doctors told him he would be unable to breathe on his own or use his legs or right arm again. Prior to the accident, Miller was an avid surfer, emerging onto the professional surfing scene.  Through the support of family and friends, including world surfing champion Mick Fanning, he overcame all odds and was able to stand at the alter and dance with his beautiful bride – Kathryn Southwell – on their wedding day.

You and Me is an 87-minute documentary chronicling several years of Miller’s life, struggles and triumphs, culminating in his marriage to Southwell.  This touching story is yet another example of someone who faced and overcame tragedy.

Accessibility Services, Inc. is proud to serve the quadriplegic community.  Nothing compares to the feeling of installing an autonoME (environmental control unit and speech generating device) package and giving someone a new lease on life.  We pledge to continue our research to offer the clients we serve the latest augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solutions on the market.

If you have an opportunity to watch You and Me, we encourage you to do so and would love to hear your thoughts!

Watch You and Me.

We are excited to announce the addition of a product gallery to our website.  This new section offers detailed specifications for both our signature autonoME Residential Package as well as the various Grid Pad models, including the Grid Pad Pro, Grid Pad Eye and Grid Pad Rugged. In addition to learning more about hardware options, you can review information about the latest software and even download software demos.

If you see something of interest, you can complete a quote request form right on our website.  The autonoME – featuring full AAC and environmental control – is by far our most popular item.  We will be adding more products in the future, including accessories for various environmental control units (ECU).  If you don’t see something and you would like for us to add it, please let us know. We value your feedback!

Please check it out and let us know what you think!

 

 

You probably remember the story of Manny Galan, the young man who suddenly went into cardiac arrest at the age of 14 and suffered an anoxic brain injury.  Accessibility Services, Inc. was moved by Manny’s story and drive to complete high school in hopes of attending college. We donated an autonoME package consisting of an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD) to help him pursue his dreams.

img_8277Manny’s mom, Millie, keeps us up to date on Manny’s progress.  He is mastering the autonoME, continuing his education and remaining active in the community.  Manny recently crafted a beautiful ceramic vase, which was on display at an art festival in Venice, Florida in early November.  Ceramics is part of Manny’s occupational therapy, and wow, what a masterpiece!

Manny is an example of someone who has not allowed tragic circumstances get in the way of living life to the fullest.  Manny is fortunate to have a wonderful support system, including his mom, Millie.  We look forward to continuing to follow Manny’s journey.  Who knows, he may just discover some new ways the autonoME can be used to help improve the lives of quadriplegics.

Way to go, Manny. We are very proud of you!

North Port Man Who Clinically Died Now Aspires to Pursue a Nuclear Engineering Degree Thanks to the autonoME

Manny Galan was a healthy, overachieving, energetic 14-year-old whose life was forever changed in 2010 when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest while on vacation with his family. A blood clot traveled to his heart through an opening which was not previously diagnosed. As a result, Manny suffered an anoxic brain injury and was left in a persistent vegetative state. Although doctors told Manny’s mom – Millie Galan-Aguirre – that there was zero chance of him recovering, she refused to give up. Manny did not have enough brain function to qualify for rehabilitation, so Millie trained herself and started to provide him with therapy. Several months later, while in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Manny looked into his mom’s eyes and became responsive.

Today, Manny is still a quadriplegic and non-verbal, but he is able to walk short distances with a walker, use the bathroom, eat small amounts of pureed food, water ski with assistance and go to school. In fact, Manny graduated from high school in 2016 and aspires to attend college to study nuclear engineering. Sarasota County Schools contacted Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) in Homosassa, Florida to tell them about Manny and his aspirations. As a result, ASI visited Manny to conduct an evaluation and customized one of their autonoME packages – a combination of a speech-generating device and environmental control unit (ECU) – for him. The autonoME will serve as Manny’s “mobile aid”, allowing him to take notes, help him study, complete homework and access the Internet and computer programs.

“This has been a blessing in so many ways,” explains Galan-Aguirre. “I have to fight for everything I get for Manny. One Sunday I was praying because we knew how much Manny needed to get the communication device. I got a call that Wednesday to tell me that ASI was going to donate the device to Manny. I broke down in tears because my prayers were answered!”According to Brice Green, Product/Sales Manager for ASI, the company thrives on success stories like Manny’s. “We are literally delivering hope when many times, all hope has been exhausted,” explains Green. “Knowing that the autonoME will help Manny get a higher education and achieve a certain level of independence is rewarding for everyone at ASI and confirms that what we do definitely makes a difference.”

According to ASI, devices such as the autonoME are covered by the Veteran’s Administration for service related injuries and diseases such as ALS. However, they are generally not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, making it challenging for some who need these types of devices to be able to afford them. “When a quadriplegic gains independence, their entire demeanor changes,” says Green. “The autonoME also helps alleviate stress on caregivers as well. We hope that one day private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare will realize the importance of the autonoME.” Manny’s autonoME is the second donation ASI has made this year. In March, the company donated a Grid Pad environmental control unit (ECU) to a gentleman with end stage Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).“We wish we could donate autonoME’s to every person with a financial need,” says Green, “While ASI will continue to make donations as we are able, we are in the process of exploring new funding opportunities and partnerships with non-profit organizations to help make the autonoME accessible to more people who need it.” In the meantime, Green says ASI is excited to follow Manny’s progress. “We have no doubt Manny will be able to achieve his dreams,” concludes Green. “We believe his story of survival and determination will inspire others and make a difference in the lives of so many.”