ALS / Lou Gehrig's DiseaseUsers find the Eyegaze Edge a fast and easy method of computer access, even if they retain verbal and head control to use other methods.
ALS / Lou Gehrig’s Disease
The Eyegaze Edge is a premier communication system that was designed for, and with feedback from, people with ALS over three decades. Our engineering excellence and design have resulted in a low-fatigue, high-accuracy medical communication device to meet the needs of people with ALS (PALS).
PALS have specific communication needs and abilities that change over time. These changes may impact their communication generally in the areas of respiration (breathing), resonance (sound), articulation (clarity), and phonation (voice).
Specific changes may include decreases in the ability to move the oral and laryngeal musculature, sustain phonation with adequate breath support. This may result in slurred speech, reduction in rate and speech intelligibility, and dysarthric speech characteristics such as imprecise consonants, harsh or strained vocal quality, and pitch variation.
For many PALS, these changes lead to aphonia, or complete loss of voice. The use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies is a dynamic process that should be implemented early and gradually over the course of the disease.
Eyegaze Edge® Features
Allows Users To Manipulate Computers More Quickly
Speech Generation for Non-Verbal Users
No Dependence on Head Movement
ALS and Communiation
When evaluating communication function, a speech-language pathologist may evaluate communication ability along a Speech Staging System For ALS (Yorkston, Beukelman, Strand & Bell,1999).
This system describes speaking ability in the following stages:
- Stage 1 No detectable speech disorder
- Stage 2 Noticeable speech disturbance, but still intelligible speech
- Stage 3 Reduction in speech intelligibility
- Stage 4 Use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
- Stage 5 No functional or natural speech.
With communication training from a speech-language pathologist and other professionals, PALS and their families can maximize communication function in almost every situation. Training may initially include education to address identified communication needs and what to expect with decreases in verbal communication over time. Communication strategies can be used by the speaker and listener, and range from no-tech to high-tech solutions.
Using an eye gaze speech generating device is a high-tech, robust communication access point that is safe, easy and comfortable to use, and appropriate for long-term use throughout the day and night with minimal effort on the user. The Eyegaze Edge is a robust speech generating device that uses the minimal amount of infrared light needed for gaze point accuracy, and compensates for challenges specific to the ALS community–that of having dry eyes, ptosis of the eyelids and specific positioning needs to facilitate energy conservation.
Using the Eyegaze Edge® with ALS
People with ALS are generally very successful operating the Eyegaze Edge. Consideration must be made for potential eye challenges as a result of the progression of the disease. Users with ALS may in time experience droopy eyelids, dry eyes, or inhibited range of eye movement. Adjustments to both the Eyegaze software and hardware may often accommodate those issues. Droopy Eyelid Compensation in the Eyegaze Edge will automatically accommodate users with ptosis of the eyelids.
Pauline and Reggie are a loving couple taking control of their lives with the Eyegaze Edge®.
Limited eye movement in some people with very advanced ALS makes it difficult or impossible for them to perform the more complex Eyegaze functions, such as typing, on traditional Direct-select Eyegaze keyboards. Two solutions are included in every Eyegaze Edge: a large-key two-stroke keyboard and a scanning keyboard with an eye motion switch. Additionally, the optional Grid 3 program makes it possible to create custom screens that can accommodate limited eye movement.
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