What to expect from the Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program
Our team hopes to meet people as early as possible after diagnosis but remains eager to support people with ALS at any time during their journey.
As appropriate, Speech-Language Pathology will introduce strategies to minimize fatigue associated with speech, including strategies to enhance intelligibility or preserve energy, and may introduce varied voice amplifiers. You may be introduced to our model of Message-Banking and/or options for Voice Banking, partner with us to create personalized quick-access communication tools, learn about and try various high tech speech-generating devices that support face to face communication as well as communication through internet/telephone. If technology is appropriate, you will be supported to participate in evidence-based trials with the most appropriate augmentative solutions so you can experience how technology may be helpful in the ‘real world’ before making final selections.
Based on assessment of current voluntary motor abilities, Occupational Therapy may identify adaptations and tools to facilitate continued physical access to daily activities. These may range from minor modifications to one’s computer keyboard and mouse to hands free control of a computer, tablet, and smartphone. All possible modes of physical access including voice control, hand function, voluntary movements of eyes, head and feet are explored to minimize over-use of any one muscle group. Accommodations to minimize fatigue and facilitate function often include positioning-mounting adaptations, low and high tech adaptive pointers, and alternative computer mice and switches. In addition to facilitating access to written and spoken communication, email, the Internet, social media, options for independent access to reading, television operation, and other leisure time activities may be addressed.