As you know, the autonoME is an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD) all in one single, convenient, integrated package.  We’ve been highlighting different features of the autonoME, and today we are going to talk about how it performs as an SGD.

The autonoME includes all of the features of a traditional SGD, including customized speech generation and augmented speech.  In fact, the autonoME has its own Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) menu.  This menu includes access to a keyboard for typing words and sentences, which can be used as a traditional keyboard, or, operated with Eye Gaze, sip & puff and head tracking. There is also a message bank where you can input and store terms and sentences that may be spoken on a regular basis (i.e. I am hungry; thank you, etc.).  The grid sets are designed specifically for non-verbal users, allowing the autonoME to speak for them and essentially become their voice.

During installation, ASI spends time working with patients, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, caregivers and designated hospital staff to demonstrate the autonoME’s AAC capabilities. Please reference our comparison chart to see how the autonoME compares with traditional ECUs and SGDs.

Hospitals, rehabilitation and nursing facilities – we have technicians who will travel to your site and demonstrate how the autonoME can increase patient satisfaction. Contact us today to set up a customized and complimentary consultation.

This is part two of a multi-part series highlighting the features of the autonoME environmental control unit (ECU)/speech generating device (SGD) package. Last time, we discussed how the autonoME controls television.  Today, we are going to explore some additional ways the autonoME can be used for entertainment.

Games

The autonoME is equipped with a number of games including chess and the ever popular solitaire.  You can also access additional grid sets for more games and apps.

e-Reader

The Kindle e-reader is pre-installed on every autonoME.  Access thousands of books and other media.

Internet Radio

Enjoy your favorite tunes from an endless number of Internet radio stations.

Computer

Your autonoME is equipped with Microsoft Windows. Surf the web, create documents, send and receive e-mail, use a calculator and more.

Two-Way Camera

Take photos or selfies and share them with your family and friends.

Social Media

Update your status, create posts, send Tweets, etc. by accessing grid sets built specifically for Social Media.

Our next article will highlight how the autonoME is used for speech generation.

This is first of a multi-part series where we will go in-depth and discuss the features of the autonoME.  As you know, the autonoME combines both environmental control and speech generation in one single package. This offers individuals full alternative augmentative communication (AAC) and the ability to control their environment with the same device.

There are three types of autonoME packages:

  • autonoME Residential – designed for in-home use
  • autonoME Hospital – used in hospital, rehab and long-term care settings
  • autonoMEgo – an alternative option offering portability for use from patient to patient

Today, we will focus on some of the features that make the autonoME attractive to hospitals, rehabilitation and long term care facilities.


Custom Installation and Ongoing Customer Support

We work with physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and staff to develop customized autonoME packages for each facility.  Not only do we install the units ourselves, but we spend time training staff on how to the package works to ensure they understand how to maximize all the the autonoME’s impressive features.  We also provide ongoing support and personally handle all questions and inquiries. We do not farm our support out to a third party or call center.

Nurse Call

This integrated feature allows patients to activate the nurse call light, eliminating the need for a separate call button. This is especially helpful for individuals who are unable to press a button as they can activate the call light using features such as eye gaze and sip and puff.

Room Control

The environmental control features allow them to control their bed and lights.  Bed timing can even be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of time the bed moves in any direction. Patients in rooms equipped with an autonoME generally call on staff less often.

Television Control

Allows patients to fully control their television sets, eliminating the need to call for a staff member to adjust volume or change channels.

Telephone

Controls basic telephone functions, allowing patients to answer and make calls on their own.

It is important to note that our residential units are also equipped with the above features, just customized for in-home use.  For instance, the nurse call feature is actually a caregiver call.  Room control may include operating ceiling fans and door openers.  And, television control may include the ability to switch from satellite to local television stations.

Our next article will discuss some of the popular ways the autonoME is used for entertainment.

Special thank you to Billy Cox and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for publishing the wonderful article on how Manny Galan is using the autonoME to gain independence.  Manny graduated high school in June aspires to study nuclear engineering in college with the help of his new autonoME.

Read the full story.

Caregivers – especially those caring for a quadriplegic – make monumental sacrifices to ensure their loved ones can enjoy a quality life.  Caregiving is not a nine to five job.  It is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year commitment to ensuring the each and every need of the individual they are caring for is met.  A quadriplegic needs assistance in almost every aspect of their life, including but not limited to bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, and transportation.

The daily challenges of the quadriplegic are more apparent than the often silent struggles of the caregiver.  In most cases, the caregiver has voluntarily given up their job, friends, family and their own freedom to take care of their loved one.  Sadly, caregivers can experience loneliness, depression and even hopelessness.  They often become isolated due to the fact that they spend every waking moment tending to the needs of their loved one.

The autonoME (environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generating device (SGD) package) is designed to benefit both the quadriplegic and their caregiver by offering the quadriplegic independence he or she would otherwise not experience.  What does this mean for the caregiver?  Well, it means that now, the person they are caring for can operate a number of electronics including computers, radios and television sets.  Depending on the options they choose, they may now even be able to operate their bed, ceiling fans, lights and even open and close doors.  This new found independence offered by the autonoME frees up the caregiver to take care of other things they may otherwise been able to accomplish.

Caregivers are the true behind the scene heroes.  If you know a caregiver, take time to recognize them for their heroic efforts.  When possible, offer them some respite by sitting with their loved one so they can get out every once in awhile.  Treat them to a home cooked meal, dinner out or even a spa day.  Be their friend, and let them know they are appreciated.  Doing just a little can mean a lot!

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”