Patient Resources | ALS Augmentative Communication Program

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Contact the ALS Augmentative Communication Program

  • 781-216-2229

What to Expect from the 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.

Patient Stories

Augmentative communication gives a voice to people with ALS
For the past six years, John Costello, MA, director of the Boston Children’s Augmentative Communication Program, has been working at night and on weekends with adult patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Augmentative Communication and ALS: A conversation with John Costello
Costello sits down with Thriving to discuss his work with children and how it expanded to giving people with ALS a voice.

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 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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