Old 08-24-2009, 10:26 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking for a used Light Writer

Does anyone have a used Light Writer for sale? Or something similar that will help my father communicate? Dad has always hated to write but now that he is unable to speak and be understood he *has to use *something! I know communication devices are pretty expensive and I don't know what if anything, my parents' insurance would pay for. I have read that Light Writers work well and are easy to use. ( Is this right? ) My parents would prefer to find something easy for them to understand how to use. Dad has to be terribly frustrated at not being able to be understood. I want to help find something he can use to communicate. Does anyone have a used Light Writer ( or something else that may be helpful )?

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Old 08-24-2009, 10:44 PM #2 (permalink)
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You know Debbie, for around $500 you can buy a netbook computer and use the free Etriloquist software to have a keyboard based talker. That is what I use and it works for me better than my DynaVox Palmtop talker that cost 10 times more. I connected a $20 external speaker and I can be as loud as I want. The computer I bought is an Asus 10" EeePC and it is small enough to be fairly portable and weighs 3.5 pounds.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:55 AM #3 (permalink)
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I second Barry's suggestion about combining the netbook and Etriloquist for now, provided that your father still has enough use of his hands to be able to type or use something like Dasher if he can't type. It'll be slow and frustrating until he (and your family and friends) get used to the new pace of conversation, but at least he'll be able to communicate again.

There are other programs out there besides Etriloquist that your father may find more useful, but most of them are not free. You'll have time to take a look at those later, though, especially if your father is going to an ALS clinic that has a good support team. They may be able to arrange for your father to test various types of software and hardware before you buy them, which might help you avoid wasting time, energy, and money on useless stuff.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:59 AM #4 (permalink)
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Does he still have use of his hands? A cheap way might be a MagnaDoole a kid's eraser type toy. $5-10 range.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:12 AM #5 (permalink)
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Magna doodle, that is what I keep telling my kids...i get to play!
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:15 AM #6 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for the suggestions! Yes, Dad does have use of his hands and arms. He just *hates having to write anything down! ( He'd rather keep trying to talk. ) But, he *has to find a way to communicate and a way he's willing to use. I'll pass your sufggestions along to my mom. ( She has joined the forum but has not yet posted. I keep *telling her to GET ON HERE! I'll keep working on her.

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Old 08-26-2009, 02:51 PM #7 (permalink)
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You can also check with you local ALS chapter, they sometimes have loaner devices for free. The device my mom had, we set up with things she said frequently so she only had to push one button to make a statment. You might be surprised what insurance will pay for I would look into it right away because sometimes the claims take a long time to process.

A speech device imo will be better in the long run because they can be adapted as it will probably become hard for him to type at some point and being able to program things in will help him to keep up with a conversation as opposed to having to type each time he wants to speak.

In the short term, you could laminate some sheets of paper with symbols of things he needs regularly, bathroom, eat, etc.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:26 AM #8 (permalink)
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Thank you. I will share this with my mother. My parents *were loaned ( by a church member friend ) a device called Polyana, though I don't know the model#. They weren't given any kind of instruction manual or anything so don't know how to use the thing. It is supposed to *talk. Has anyone used one of these things?
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