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    Eye-Gaze tech

    Apologies if this has been covered but I couldn’t find it via the forum search option.

    I’m now down to typing one handed and my remaining ‘functional’ hand is now getting tired and weak, and I’m getting muscle spasms now (similar to what I had in the lead-up to my other hand becoming non-functional). I’m still working and am keen to continue for as long as I can. I’m also keen to keep any ‘downtime’ whilst waiting for assistive tech to a minimum, i.e. I don’t want to be left no longer able to manually type with no viable alternative.

    My questions are:
    (1) Does the MNDA offer a loan service for eye-gaze tech?
    (2) If so, do you need to be assessed for it?
    (3) How long does the process take, if there is one?
    (4) Is there another route I could/should try?

    My SLT has talked about the Assistive Technology Team regarding voice replacement tech, but other than voice banking while I’m still coherent, he says I don’t need that yet. I didn’t think to ask about typing replacement tech, or know if that’s even their area.

    My workplace adjustments team are happy to pay for the tech but would need to put forward a strong case; they would require expert opinion and/or assessment.

    Any pearls of wisdom of where to start with this would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Pauline 😊
    Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

    Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

    #2
    Hi Mrs. Taff I can't offer any advice but am interested in any responses, although more for the communication route than typing.

    My dad uses a lightwriter where he types and it speaks for him. His right arm is now weak so he's typing left handed but that I expect that will be increasing weak over the next few months.

    We have a good speach therapist who I'm keeping updated so hopefully she'll be on hand when we need something.

    hope someone can give you advice re typing replacement.

    Comment


      #3
      Mrs. Taff I have just received Eyegaze from Oxford OT which is somehow linked to my area Milton Keynes. I am CHC funded.
      Diagnosed 18th May 2021 with sporadic ALS. Limb onset. Terrified of not being able to breathe easily.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Mrs. Taff View Post
        My questions are:
        (1) Does the MNDA offer a loan service for eye-gaze tech?
        (2) If so, do you need to be assessed for it?
        (3) How long does the process take, if there is one?
        (4) Is there another route I could/should try?
        1. Fully loaded eye gaze devices, I don't know, lower tech communication devices, yes.
        2. Your SLT should refer you for an assessment to The AAC Hub, which is run by NHS Wales, more info here
        3. Piece of string comes to mind.
        4. First see what happens through the assessment process, there are other solutions apart from eye gaze. If self-funding, which you should not have to do, you can apply to the MNDA for a grant.
        ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
        Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.

        Comment


          #5
          Hi,

          I was referred to my local electronic assistive technologies team once progression in my hands stopped me from being able to type and use a handheld device properly. I am currently using a combination of integramouse plus (NHS supplied) along with SpeechToText (standard on the majority of devices these days) to save me typing. Obviously speech to text is only useful if you still have use of your voice.

          The integramouse is a fantastic solution if you still have good control of your neck muscles and can manage enough ‘sip and puff’ with your breath to activate left and right click on the mouthpiece:



          Just thought I would add this to your list of possibilities 👍

          Foxes Never Quit 💙

          Comment


            #6
            ACT assertive communications technology is our NHS provider of technology and they provided lots of different kit at various stages, initially it was an ergonomic mouse, then a rollerball mouse, then when his hands didn't work anymore progressed to a head mouse which was a stick on Microsoft on his forehead operating a camera on top of the NHS provided grid pad computer and then finally eyegaze when the other solutions became no longer suitable.

            They went out of their way to provide kit that suited his needs at the time and were very responsive and timely as his needs changed.

            The grid pad computer/tablet was multifunctional, it had his voice technology but was also a fully functioning Windows based computer with touch screen (which he couldn't use) and many different input methods. Things we hadn't heard of, and some which he didn't like like switches etc.

            Worth talking to them. They also provided stands for the computer to wheel between bed and chair and a separate stand to fit to his wheelchair as he became so reliant on it, it went everywhere with him.

            He could control the TV and even Alexander did as she was told by his banked voice.

            The help team for grid pad also go above and beyond in trying to find solutions like integrating different software so definitely worth speaking to them.

            They also supplied call alarms and smart plugs to operate fans and lamps to maintain independence, all operated by his computer.

            They even offered to set it up to control the robot hoover but he had no use or need for that.

            All provided by the NHS. - not the hoover!


            Carer for husband diagnosed with ALS April 2021. Hand onset. PEG fed, completely immobile, communicated with eye gaze

            Sense of humour intact throughout.

            Sadly passed away peacefully 2/9/22

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Ellie View Post
              1. Fully loaded eye gaze devices, I don't know, lower tech communication devices, yes.
              2. Your SLT should refer you for an assessment to The AAC Hub, which is run by NHS Wales, more info here
              3. Piece of string comes to mind.
              4. First see what happens through the assessment process, there are other solutions apart from eye gaze. If self-funding, which you should not have to do, you can apply to the MNDA for a grant.
              Thanks Ellie that’s all really helpful. I’ll get back in touch with the SLT and see where that takes me.

              Your comment, “piece of string”, made me grin xx
              Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

              Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by JamesW View Post
                Hi,

                I was referred to my local electronic assistive technologies team once progression in my hands stopped me from being able to type and use a handheld device properly. I am currently using a combination of integramouse plus (NHS supplied) along with SpeechToText (standard on the majority of devices these days) to save me typing. Obviously speech to text is only useful if you still have use of your voice.

                The integramouse is a fantastic solution if you still have good control of your neck muscles and can manage enough ‘sip and puff’ with your breath to activate left and right click on the mouthpiece:



                Just thought I would add this to your list of possibilities 👍
                Thanks for your help. Unfortunately my speech is too poor for AI to understand and my facial muscles are weak, so I don’t think I’d be able to operate the integramouse. I really appreciate your taking the time to provide other options though xx
                Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

                Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mrs. Taff View Post

                  Thanks for your help. Unfortunately my speech is too poor for AI to understand and my facial muscles are weak, so I don’t think I’d be able to operate the integramouse. I really appreciate your taking the time to provide other options though xx
                  Glad to be of help. If you do go down the eye gaze route then Ellie is a black belt in its use 👍
                  Foxes Never Quit 💙

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The OT personnel here on Huddersfield but me in touch with assisted technology services at Barnsley Hospitsl-they look after Rob Burrows.
                    a diamond of a girl came and set me up a gridpad at no cost. Touch screen initially but now eye gaze device fitted as my right hand hand declining rapidly.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks Claireflo I hope the responses help you and your dad out too. I hope he keeps use of his left arm/hand for a long time. It’s always a worry when symptoms progress, no matter how small or significant the change. Take care both xx
                      Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

                      Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Rosemary6NT and Sean0271 thanks both! I will ask my OT too xx
                        Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

                        Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks MMG lots of info there, really useful and interesting. Certainly food for thought 🤔
                          How are you doing? Sending hugs xx
                          Hi, I’m Pauline. Keeping positive, working through a bucket list with the love of my life, my husband Gareth.

                          Diagnosed July 2022 Bulbar onset ALS. PEG fitted but not used yet. Speech poor, some swallowing issues, right arm weakness and loss of dexterity, left arm getting weaker. Starting to feel unsteady on feet but still mobile.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I can still use one hand for typing and use the dictation function too (sometimes with hilarious results).

                            I’ve had a conversation with the Assisted Tech service who weren’t all that enthusiastic about eye gaze, especially as I wear varifocals, but also because of (according to the OT I saw) the difficulties of getting the positioning of the device just right, as well as the levels of light which may change how well eye gaze tech works.

                            Does this sound right? I’m concerned about how I’ll access my tablet when my functioning hand and my voice stop working.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Artie View Post

                              I’ve had a conversation with the Assisted Tech service who weren’t all that enthusiastic about eye gaze, especially as I wear varifocals, but also because of (according to the OT I saw) the difficulties of getting the positioning of the device just right, as well as the levels of light which may change how well eye gaze tech work.
                              Sounds like this OT is in the wrong job! It's their job to set it up right so it does work. I've tried eye gaze ( just so I could see how it works for when/if I need it) It worked with my varifocals. There are also other options they can try, don't be fobbed off by this OT.
                              Started limping 2017, diagnosed August 2021. Wheelchair user and reduced shoulder and hand function. Trying to be positive 😺.

                              Comment

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