ALS Augmentative Communication Program | Overview
The Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program provides comprehensive augmentative communication and assistive technology assessments, trials, and training to people with ALS from the time of diagnosis throughout their lifespan.
Our goal is 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 their family.
Explore our program
Meet our team
Meet the members of the Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program team.Learn more
Find information about protocols, such as speech strategies and voice amplification.Learn the protocols
Why the Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program?
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 Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program was established in 2016. Our team includes speech-language pathologists, who specialize in augmentative communication; occupational therapists with alternative access and assistive technology expertise; and administrative professionals, and graduate trainees. We collaborate with local, regional and national resources to provide the highest quality services for individuals with ALS. In addition, we work with with regional, national and international clinical leaders, engineers, developers and ALS care providers and teams to bring our innovation — as well as the innovation of others — to people with ALS and their families.
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, the Speech-Language Pathology Program 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™ or options for Voice Banking, partner with us to create personalized quick-access communication tools, and learn about and try various high-tech speech-generating devices, which support face-to-face communication, as well as communication through the internet or phone. 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 overuse 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.