Making Connections: Veterans Without Speech Master the Art of Conversation and LivingBy Murphy, Patti; PN: Paraplegia News, Vol. 63, No. 12, pp. 30-35
Article features two United States Armed Forces veterans, a former nurse with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and an Army sergeant who sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq, who interact with friends, caregivers, and family using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Following a speech-language assessment at a Veterans Administration (VA) medical center, the former nurse received a DynaVox Vmax which she operates, mounted on her wheelchair, using a head mouse. She chooses letters, symbols, words, and phrases by her head movements to create messages delivered aloud through the voice output component of the device. Time saving features such as word prediction and rate enhancement promote spontaneous interaction. The Army sergeant is described using a DynaVox DV4 while he works as a greeter at a sporting goods store. He and his family have programmed vocabulary and organized it into folders on the AAC device for a variety of situations including folders for hunting, fishing, working at the store, and conversing with his wife and daughter. The veteran also gives presentations to rehabilitation and veterans groups using preprogrammed biographical information. The article includes information on obtaining AAC devices for veterans with speech disabilities through the VA, the TRICARE health benefits program for military retirees, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, or the ALS Association.
Assistive Products Discussed: DYNAVOX VMAX
Published by: PVA Publications (Website:http://www.pvamagazines.com)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Web Site: http://www.pva.org )