speech generation device (SGD)

Over the next few months, we will be featuring how the autonoME is used by individuals affected by different diseases and conditions.  This month, we will discuss amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is a neurogenerative disease affecting the brain and spinal cord nerve cells.  It is progressive and results in the inability for the brain to control muscle movement, which eventually leads to loss of speech and lack of ability to move, eat and breath.  Unfortunately, there is still no cure for ALS.

The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generation device (SGD) with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities.  One of the features that makes the autonoME ideal for individuals with ALS is its ability to accommodate multiple input methods.  This is extremely important as the disease progresses.  For instance, a person with ALS may initially be able to use touch for commands.  Once their sense of touch becomes compromised by the ALS, they can still control the autonoME using alternate input methods such as eye gaze, sip and puff or eye tracking.

Overall, the autonoME helps individuals with ALS become more independent by allowing them to communicate using AAC and control their environment, including lights, doors, fans and television sets.  The autonoME can even be customized to allow individuals to access the Internet, make phone calls, send text messages, take photos, play games and more.

Are you or a loved one facing ALS?  Or, are you a professional who works with ALS patients?  If so, please give us a call to learn more about how the autonoME custom environmental control unit / speech generating device can help improve overall quality of life for both the individual with ALS and their caregivers.

ECU unit for hospital

(Part 1)

The autonoME is a custom environmental control unit / speech generating device that can be used in both hospital and residential settings.  As a hospital ECU, the autonoME not only helps patients gain independence and the ability to control their environment, but it also frees up staff time that can then be dedicated to patient medical care.

Spinal cord injury units throughout the country are equipped with the autonoME. We will be posting several articles over the next few months which outline why the autonoME is a preferred ECU unit for hospital settings. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the autonoME.

All-in-one

The autonoME is one of the most ideal ECU units for hospitals because of its all-in one features and comprehensive capabilities.  Not only is the autonoME a full environmental control unit, but it is also capable of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).  Couple this with the fact that it is also a computer equipped with the Windows operating system and you have the perfect all-in-one ECU / AAC solution!

Retrofitting capabilities

The autonoME is a custom environmental control unit that can be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.  Cables and clutter are eliminated as Accessibility Services Inc. (ASI) has manufactured a convenient wall box that holds all of the necessary components.  When it comes to new construction installation, we can serve as part of the planning team.

Next month, we continue to examine the anatomy of the autonoME and what makes it a perfect ECU unit for hospital settings. Want to learn more about the autonoME?  Give us a call for a complimentary consultation!

Are you either preparing for or getting stared with eye gaze?  If so, Look to Learn software is a must!  If you are using an autonoME speech generating device/ECU in hospital or home, Look to Learn software offers an excellent platform to help you master and fine tune eye gaze access. Let’s take a closer look at some of its most prominent features:

  • More than 40 activities designed to help users learn and practice eye gaze.
  • Explore – Look to Learn encourages the user to utilize the entire screen
  • Target – Improves eye gaze accuracy
  • Control – Helps the user fine tune and better control eye gaze access
  • Developed with the input of teachers and therapists, Look to Learn Scenes and Sounds features 26 activities designed to help teach valuable skills.

Best of all, Look to Learn software is customizable to you.  Look to Learn software allows you to load your own images and videos for use with the activities.  It is the perfect addition to any eye gaze equipped ECU in hospital or residential settings.

Grid 3 Software – The Gold Standard in Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationAccessibility Services, Inc. is proud to offer Grid 3 software – the gold standard in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) – with the products we offer.  Whether you are considering a Grid Pad or a custom environmental control unit (ECU) / AAC package such as the autonoME,  you can count on Grid 3 software to deliver advanced features and optimal performance.

Assistive technology for quadriplegics and adaptive equipment for quadriplegics have come a long way over the years.  The autonoME – powered by Grid 3 software  – is one of the most advanced communication devices for quadriplegics on the market today, which is probably why it is considered a preferred communication device/ECU in hospital and residential settings. Let’s take a look at what makes Grid 3 software so versatile and useful when it comes to AAC:

  1. Text communication – Grid 3 software allows users to easily access text communication options. It comes with more than 5000 pre-loaded sentences as well as the ability to add your own.
  2. Symbol communication – Similar to text communication, symbol communication allows users to use symbols vs. text to communicate.
  3. Access options – Communication devices for quadriplegics should have access options to accommodate different levels and types of disabilities. Grid 3 software integrates with eye gaze, switches, sip and puff, touch screens and more.
  4. Grid sets and accessible apps – Assistive technology for quadriplegics should allow users to accomplish everyday tasks. Grid 3 software has a plethora of downloadable grid sets and accessible apps that allow users make a phone call, send an e-mail, play games, send a text, take and share photos, browse the Internet, play music and games, watch videos, etc.
  5. Computer control – Being able to use a computer is one of the most requested options when it comes to adaptive equipment for quadriplegics. Grid 3 software allows persons with quadriplegia and other disabilities to access Window based software and applications and grid sets for work, school or home.

Want to learn more about how Grid 3 software is used to power our signature autonoME ECU/speech generating device?  Give us a call and one of our experts will be happy talk with you.

We have been highlighting various types of jobs for quadriplegics. This month, we will take a look at customer service careers.

Customer services jobs provide excellent employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In fact, quadriplegic assistive technologies including environmental control unit (ECU) devices and a speech generating device have made it possible for persons with quadriplegia to do more than ever before! The autonoME is an integrated, custom environmental unit and speech generating device that can be personalized to each individual.

On-Site Customer Service Jobs for Quadriplegics
ECU devices have made it possible for persons with quadriplegia to become gainfully employed as on-site customer service representatives. In cases where speech is a challenge, a speech generated device can be added for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some businesses have a customer service desk where employees answer questions and resolve issues. Others have customer service representatives on the “floor” who can be called upon to answer questions at any time.

Telephone/Virtual Customer Services Jobs for Quadriplegics
ECU devices and/or a speech generating device can help persons with quadriplegia perform the duties of a telephone and/or virtual customer service representative. There are many of these jobs available that can be performed in the comfort of your own home with a telephone line, computer and Internet connection. Quadriplegic assistive technologies including a custom environmental control unit and speech generated device can be implemented to make using a telephone and computer possible.

While the requirements vary for different businesses, the basic requirements for customer service jobs include a general knowledge about the company’s products and/or services, ability to communicate with customers, willingness to resolve customer complaints and a positive, welcoming attitude. Equipped with ECU devices and/or a speech generating device, persons with quadriplegia can excel in customer service careers!

What Can an ECU Do for YouEnvironmental control units (ECU), including hospital ECU devices, are designed to give individuals with disabilities, including quadriplegics, freedom to control their surroundings. Custom environmental control units are specially designed to meet the needs of each individual. Both hospital ECU devices and residential ECU devices provide a plethora of benefits for both users and caregivers alike.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of residential and hospital ECU devices:

  • Nurse / caregiver call button
  • Room control – lights, television, bed, etc.
  • Basic telephone functions
  • Windows-based computer access
  • Internet access
  • Entertainment, including online books and games
  • Photos and selfies

If speech generation is also needed, the autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit and speech generating device for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).  It can be customized with input devices to accommodate different levels of disability:

  • Voice – a directional microphone for flexibility and convenience
  • Touch – Capacitive touch screen and stylus pen
  • Switch Scanning – Single and dual switch sip and puff; ability to move down and across screen
  • Eye Tracking – move curser by staring into the camera and using your eyes
  • Head Tracking – move curser by moving your head up, down, left or right

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) understands everyone’s needs are different, which is why we customize our residential and hospital ECU devices and autonoME packages to accommodate specific needs. In fact, the autonoME is becoming one of the most popular speech generating and hospital ECU devices on the market today.  We have installed units in several Veteran’s Administration hospital and private hospitals throughout the country, including a children’s specialty hospital.

Contact ASI to learn more about how our ECU devices and autonoME package can help you or a loved one become more independent.

Text TalkerCommunications devices for quadriplegics continue to advance thanks to new Grid Sets available for Grid 3 software. Text Talker is not a typical text-to-speech keyboard. It features advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) capabilities which promote natural and efficient text communication. Featuring patented chat history technology, Text Talker can remember everything an individual says and allows words to be spoken again when the user begins to type a keyword. Text Talker also allows users to easily switch between conversations, save and retrieve messages, utilize temporarily stored phrases and save message drafts.

Another popular feature of Text Talker is its message banking capability. This advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) feature allows individuals with speech capability to capture their voice and recall it as needed. Text Talker also allows users to quickly speak pre-stored phrases without typing.

ASI’s mission is to incorporate quadriplegic assistive technologies designed to promote independence in all of the products we offer. Contact us today for a free trial of Text Talker.

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!!!

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.