Communication (AAC) Devices - Need Recommendations

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jamie1234

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Do any of you have recommendations for Communication/AAC devices for ALS patients? My Mom has ALS and I'm starting to look into them now. I just want to make sure that I prepare now so my Mom has what's needed down the road. It's becoming harder for her to talk. Plus, she loves using the computer and besides the speech aspect, I'd also love for her to be able to get on the computer and e-mail friends/look online. Please let me know if you particularly like anything out there. I just want what's best for my Mom. Thanks! Jamie
 

BethU

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Hi, Jamie ... I just had a DynaVox Vmax delivered a couple weeks ago, and it is still basically spread out all over the living room floor while I figure out how to use it. I'm not in a wheelchair yet, so I ordered a stand for it, which hasn't arrived yet. I'm also butting heads with the insurance company about getting some training sessions.

It's apparently the top of the line. I think it has more capability than I will need, but it can be converted later on to "eye-gaze" capability, and I thought I'd better get the best. Mine was paid for by MDA (Muscular Dystrophy) plus my insurance, and they would only pay for one per lifetime, so I got the maximum.

It's a laptop with both a touch screen and a keyboard, and connects directly to the Internet and to the telephone. If your mom likes computers, she'll probably love this. It really has the works. If I ever figure out how to use it I'll let you know how it goes ! :)

If your mom's starting to have speech problems, e-mail is a lifesaver ! I'd be up the creek without it.

Best wishes for your mom. Sounds like you are taking really good care of her.
 

jamie1234

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Thanks so much for the info Beth. I really appreciate it and hope you get some training soon. I'm sure it's a nightmare to figure out. As for e-mail, do you recommend anything for her computer that would make it easier for her to type (until she gets this device)? I'm just trying to figure out all the gadgets. She's having a really hard time typing so doesn't use her computer much. :-( I'm sad about that, so trying to figure it out.

Thanks again Beth, and good luck!
 

BethU

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The only adjustment I've made with my regular computer is getting a roller ball mouse, so I don't have to move my arm so much. I'm sure it's frustrating for her if she's having difficulty typing, but I think she'll find that being able to communicate is worth it.

I think ALS is as hard on caregivers as it is on patients ... so take care of yourself, too.
 

jamie1234

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you're the sweetest Beth. Don't worry about me. Just take care of yourself! And again, I can't thank you enough for the info. As you use your new device, please let me know what you think. Take care Beth. Jamie
 

jonsjr40

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Jamie
I just got a eyegaze systems and can use it both. I have never been on the internet untell about a month ago when I got my eyegaze. You have nothing on your eyes and you don't have to use your hands. Ceck it out at ( eyegaze.com ) mine is called the edge.
I hope I helped. :)
GOD BLESS
John
 

jonsjr40

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Jamie
I just got a eyegaze systems and can use it both. I have never been on the internet untell about a month ago when I got my eyegaze. You have nothing on your eyes and you don't have to use your hands. Ceck it out at ( eyegaze.com ) mine is called the edge.
I hope I helped. :)
GOD BLESS
John
 

CindyM

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Also, Jamie- don't forget the search feature on this site. We have quite a lot of threads on this subject. Cindy
 

TanDaMay

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Marcie uses ERICA from Eye Responce - the lady who showed it to us in Jan. of '06 came and trained us on it and was just here on Wed. to check in on us -she will come any time we need her and they also have support on line and on the phone -

http://www.eyeresponse.com/

Marcie is very fast - only using her eyes - she has had it about 15 months - only down side - it does not work out side but the newer ones do I think - she can even controll her tv, vcr, dvd player and radio using ERICA - and with a special phone she can call 911 if I need help

:grin:
 

henrydavid

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Eye-tracking

Jaimie, there are five viable eye-trackers out there, group by expense:

ERICA by Eyeresponse (Eyeresponse.com): Smallest, portable, most affordable, good infrared controls, good battery, powerful and upgradable tablet Windows OS, yet weak on ambient light interference and eye issues, uses easy to follow "Lifemate" software for building communication and control boards, user must face unit head-on for accuracy, camera is external, ($7-9000) made in the US

Eyegaze Edge by LC Technologies (Eyegaze.com): Most accurate in all lighting and eye conditions, powerful and upgradable portable tablet or customized desktop systems (Mac base with Windows XP), uses easy to follow "Eyegaze" software for building communication and control boards (yet can also use all competitors' software programs as well if preferred - Viking, The Grid, Speaking Dynamically), user can look at screen from any angle including sideways, camera is external and can be attached to any firewire computer ($8000-10,500), made in US

Tobii by Tobii/ATI (Tobii.com): Biggest screen (yet heaviest unit), most cameras built-in which allows for greater head movement accommodation, uses easy to use "Viking" software for building communication and control boards, in-house manufactured tablet that cannot be upgraded, not portable unless external wheelchair connection or power inverter used, user must face unit head-on with no angles, cameras are internal ($13-15,000), made in Sweden

Eyemax by Dynavox (Dynavox.com): Most famous company for AAC (communication), yet uses the weakest of the four cameras (known as a "Quickglance") but has the easiest interface which works with their communication software as well, accuracy good but weak on eye issues and some eye-glasses, heavy unit, in-house design so upgrades are difficult, portable design using Windows XP, user must face unit head-on with no angles, ($14-16,000), made in US

Prentke Romich (prentrom.com): Famous AAC company is coming out with a unit as well, using Tobii's camera. No info at this time.
 
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