Disabled Veterans Continue to Gain Independence Through Assistive Technology

Accessibility Services, Inc. Awarded New Contract to Equip VA Hospitals with the autonoME Environmental Control/Speech Generation Package

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) in Homosassa, Florida announced that they have been awarded a new Veterans Administration (VA) contract to equip spinal cord injury units with their signature autonoME environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generating device (SGD) package. The autonoME – specifically designed for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – allows individuals to completely control their environment (i.e. turn on fan/lights, control their bed, television and telephone, call a nurse or caregiver, open a door, use a computer, etc.) as well as generate speech.

The company has already installed hundreds of units in VA hospitals on a previous contract, including sites in Memphis, Houston, Cleveland, Dallas, Long Beach, San Antonio and Boston, among others.  ASI recently learned they have been awarded a new contract, allowing them to install and service the autonoME package in additional VA spinal cord injury units across the country. ASI also customizes and installs the autonoME in the homes of veterans with qualifying service-related disabilities.

“Our founder, Fred Thomson, founded ASI back in 1989 with a mission to help veterans,” explains Brice Green, Product and Sales Manager for ASI. “I myself am a veteran, and we employ many veterans.  What make us different is that we are continually conducting research and development to ensure we are delivering the latest technology. We also customize, install and support each autonoME package.  We spend time making sure the therapists, nurses, caregivers and patients understand how to use all of the features and are available to answer any questions and provide technical support after the installation is complete.  When someone calls us for support, they actually get one of our technicians, not a call center.”

According to Green, seeing people experience independence as a result of the autonoME is the most rewarding part of each day.

“We are touched by the stories and struggles of the brave people we meet,” says Green. “seeing a person’s face light up when we install the autonoME and knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of so many is the reason why we are in this business.”

ASI will proceed with installing the autonoME at specified VA hospitals throughout 2017.  The company also serves individuals living at home, rehabilitation facilities, and public and private hospital systems. Watch this 1.5 minute video to see how the autonoME is helping one veteran maintain his independence: http://asi-autonome.com/the-autonome-in-action/.

About Accessibility Services, Inc.
Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is a leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) designed specifically for individuals with severe disabilities and spinal cord injuries. Founded in 1989 with a primary vision to help veterans, the company has since expanded its mission to address the needs of all severely disabled individuals with a special focus on the unique and exceptional needs of the quadriplegic community. ASI designs, customizes, installs and services ECU’s which enable clients to control their entire surroundings and environment, thus significantly increasing independence and improving quality of life. ASI’s proprietary autonoME unit has become one of the most popular hospital and residential devices on the market. Founder Fred Thompson’s philosophy, “we start with the customer and work backwards” has inspired ASI’s research and development engineers to stay one step ahead of technology, ensuring the company delivers the most advanced and progressive ECU solutions available. For more information, visit http://asi-autonome.com.

Donation Helps 20-Year-Old Anoxic Brain Injury Patient Become More Independent

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.”

Lisa Swiger Elected to Board of Directors of Citrus County Harvest, Inc.

Accessibility Services Inc. Program Director to Serve as Marketing Chair for Citrus County Blessings Program

(Homosassa, FL) – Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) announced today that Lisa Swiger, Program Manager, was elected to the Board of Directors of Citrus County Harvest, Inc. a 501(c)(3) that operates the Citrus County Blessings (Blessings) program. Blessings provides nutritional breakfasts, lunches and dinners to children on weekends, when families do not have access to government-subsidized meals.

“This is an exciting opportunity to help a worthwhile cause,” says Swiger. “Hunger is a definite problem, and the services Blessings provides bridges the gap of federal assistance. Without Blessings, many children would go with little or no nourishment over the weekends.”

According to a recent article published in the Citrus County Chronicle, 68% of school aged children in Citrus County are enrolled in federally funded free / reduced breakfast and lunch programs. Blessings finds that many of these children’s families/caretakers cannot provide adequate nutrition from lunch on Friday to breakfast on Monday morning. 85% of the children served by Blessings are ages six to 11, while 15% are ages 12 to 17.

“Lisa came with high recommendations to our Board and we are blessed to have her as a part of our team,” explains Grace Hengesbach, Executive Director of Citrus County Blessings.

“Working for ASI, Lisa knows what it means to change a life through hard work. Her passion for helping others in need extends well to our mission and she is already stepping up to the challenge as the chair of our marketing committee. I look forward to working with Lisa as we continue feeding hungry children in our community.”

Blessings currently serves 1250 children per week, although the need is much greater. As a member of the Board of Directors, Swiger will lead the marketing committee to help brand the organization and recruit additional support.

“ASI encourages our employees to get involved in the community,” says Maggie Thompson, President of ASI. “Blessings plays a crucial role in combating hunger and we are very proud that Lisa has been elected to serve on its board.”

About Citrus County Blessings

A program of Citrus County Harvest, Inc., Citrus County Blessings (Blessings) has been providing much needed sustenance to area children since 2009. Blessings helps feed children on weekends, when they don’t have access to government-subsidized meals. Blessings works closely with guidance counselors and administrators from 14 schools to identify children who will benefit most from the program. Blessings volunteers deliver nourishing meals to over 1,250 kids per week. For more information on the program, volunteering or donating, please visit http://citruscountyblessings.com.

Accessibility Services, Inc. Named Florida Companies to Watch Finalist

Leading Provider of Environmental Control Units Chosen From Over 500 Applicants

(Homosassa, FL) – When Maggie Thompson took the helm of Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) in 2009, she made the decision to lead the company down an ambitious path toward becoming the leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) in the country. Her substantial investment in research and development paid off as the $800,000 company grew to become the $7,000,000 enterprise it is today.

GrowFL recently announced ASI was named a Florida Companies to Watch finalist.         According to GrowFL, the event was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to honor second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, adding quality jobs, enriching communities and creating new industries throughout Florida. A total of 101 finalists were selected from more than 500 nominations.

“We applaud these first round finalists, all of which exhibit impressive strengths in entrepreneurial leadership, product innovation, social/community responsibility and competitive business practices,” says Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Executive Director.

The finalists, who collectively represent $694 million in annual revenue and employ 3,280 full-time equivalent employees, now advance to round two. Fifty winners will be announced in August and honored at a special awards ceremony on November 5th at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando.

“Being named a finalist for Florida Companies to Watch is such an honor,” says Thompson. “I applaud GrowFL and the Edward Lowe Foundation for taking time to recognize the hard work and sacrifices businesses such as ASI make everyday to contribute to the economic prosperity of our state. This is an exciting time for us, and we wish all the finalists best of luck!”

About Accessibility Services, Inc.
Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is a leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) designed specifically for individuals with severe disabilities and spinal cord injuries. Founded in 1989 with a primary vision to help veterans, the company has since expanded its mission to address the needs of all severely disabled individuals with a special focus on the unique and exceptional needs of the quadriplegic community. ASI designs, customizes, installs and services ECU’s which enable clients to control their entire surroundings and environment, thus significantly increasing independence and improving quality of life. ASI’s proprietary autonoME unit has become one of the most popular hospital and residential devices on the market. Founder Fred Thompson’s philosophy, “we start with the customer and work backwards” has inspired ASI’s research and development engineers to stay one step ahead of technology, ensuring the company delivers the most advanced and progressive ECU solutions available. For more information, visit http://asi-autonome.com.

About GrowFL
GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida. By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through Strategic Research, Peer Learning and Leadership Development, GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and leads them towards prosperity. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening®—to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state—GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL is a statewide economic development organization certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation. GrowFL has assisted more than 800 companies through the Strategic Research and CEO Roundtable programs and recognized 200 successful entrepreneurs through the annual awards program, Florida Companies to Watch. Learn more at
GrowFL.com.

Local Veteran Re-Gain’s Freedom Through Technology

ALS Patient Utilizes the AutonoME ECU to Increase Independence (Spring Hill, FL) – U.S. Army veteran Michael Kelly proudly served in Vietnam. During his tour, he experienced the conflicts and hostilities of war. However, his true battles were yet to come. Kelly was diagnosed five years ago with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as […]