Overview | ALS Augmentative Communication Program

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Contact the ALS Augmentative Communication Program

  • 781-216-2209

The Mission of the ALS Augmentative Communication Program 

We provide comprehensive augmentative communication and assistive technology assessments, trials and training to people with ALS from the time of diagnosis through the lifespan.

Program Goals

To support communication and daily functional needs, sustain personal control and dignity, facilitate continued social and vocational goals, and maintain quality of life through thoughtful implementation of solutions ranging from high technology to quick-access/low tech tools and strategies. This is best accomplished by providing support to a person with ALS and his/her family.

Program Description

For more than three decades, the Center for Communication Enhancement has had the honor of supporting people with ALS. Through the generosity of philanthropy, the ALS Augmentative Communication Program was established in 2016. The ALS Augmentative Communication Program team includes Speech-Language Pathologists who specialize in augmentative communication, Occupational Therapists with alternative access and assistive technology expertise, administrative professionals and graduate trainees. The ALS/ACP staff collaborates with local, regional and national resources to provide the highest quality services for individuals with ALS. In addition we collaborate with regional, national and international clinical leaders, engineers, developers and ALS care providers/teams to bring our innovation as well as the innovation of others to people with ALS and their families.

What to Expect: 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.

Location

Boston Children’s Hospital WALTHAM CAMPUS ALS Augmentative Communication Program Otolaryngology and Center for Communication Enhancement Second Floor West 9 Hope Avenue Waltham, MA 02453 Free parking with abundant accessible parking 

For more information about the ALS Augmentative Communication Program, please contact:

John M. Costello, MA, CCC-SLP Director, Augmentative Communication Program 718.216.2220 john.costello@childrens.harvard.edu

How to schedule an appointment 

Please contact Lynne Moran at 781.216.2209 or Lynne.moran@childrens.harvard.edu Lynne will forward our three-page intake. Please have your ALS team (if available) complete the form and return to us.

The Boston Children’s Hospital ALS Augmentative Communication Program is fully supported by philanthropy. For information on how you can support us, please contact Hilary Smiley Marshall at 857.218.3120 or Hilary.Marshall@chtrust.org, or if you'd like to make a donation, please click here.


We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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