Technology Information

Team Gleason is honored to serve those living with ALS by providing assistance with innovative technology. Team Gleason receives a high volume of requests every single week, but we strive to fulfill each request as quickly as possible. Please do not send multiple emails a single day regarding a request.

For assistance obtaining an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device, please fill out the application and be sure to include a copy of the AAC evaluation that was performed by your Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP). The application will soon be available on our website for download, but for now, email tech@teamgleason.org for requesting assistance.

For assistance relating to anything other than a communication device, please submit a letter of ALS diagnosis from your neurologist with your application.

Team Gleason can also help cover the cost of copays for communication devices for people living with ALS (pALS) as funds are available. In the event that Team Gleason is not able to cover the cost of a copay, Team Gleason can issue the pALS a loaner device. If the pALS requires a loaner device, a separate equipment agreement will be sent. This agreement must be filled out and sent back before Team Gleason can ship the equipment.

To download the application, click here.

Q: Why does Team Gleason require an AAC device evaluation before offering a loaner device or financial assistance for a copay?

A: The reason that Team Gleason requires an AAC device evaluation before offering a loaner device or financial assistance is three-fold:

  1. We want to make sure that someone knowledgeable about AAC technology has worked with the person requiring the device. It is critical that the pALS tries multiple devices with a knowledgeable SLP so that the best solution is provided. When evaluating an AAC device, multiple factors need to be addressed and considered to ensure usability: Ease of use, ease of calibration, interface design, features, etc. Many methods of communication exist, and to determine that best one that works for pALS, more than one model of AAC device needs to be evaluated. As each person is at a different point in the journey with ALS, different interaction methods, features, etc. will be required to ensure that the pALS gets optimal use of their AAC device, if technology is the best and/or workable solution.
  2. An SLP evaluation confirms an ALS diagnosis. This is why we do not require both an AAC evaluation and a letter of diagnosis for a communication device. This is also why for any assistance that is not related to an AAC device, a letter of diagnosis is required by the neurologist.
  3. AAC devices are communication tools and work best if they are a match for the person using them! An AAC evaluation from a knowledgeable SLP ensures that the pALS is able to get training on their device. This also confirms that the pALS should be able to use the device once received.  In order for us to assist each pALS with communication, we want to be sure they have somewhere or someone to go to who can assist them with their device and provide training.

Q: Besides a Speech and Language Pathologist, who else can provide assistance with AAC devices?

A: Most AAC companies have representatives or contractors who they work with. Many give a limited amount of hours of free training when a device is purchased. In the case of receiving a loaner, some companies will let their representatives offer training and set up for free, but not all. Vendor websites allow you to search and find the contact info of a representative near you to determine what additional training or services they offer. In addition, other non-profits such as local ALS Association chapters can often times send employees or volunteers who can assist in setup and training. For technical support, the AAC manufacturers have their own respective dedicated phone numbers for tech support. Please refer to your device manufacturer’s website for further info:

Forbes AAC: www.forbesaac.com

Jabbla: www.jabbla.com

LC Technologies: www.eyegaze.com

PRC: www.prentrom.com

Smartbox: www.thinksmartbox.com

Talk to Me Technologies: www.talktometechnologies.com

Tobii Dynavox: www.tobiidynavox.com

 

Q: If Team Gleason offers a loaner device, how long is the loan period?

A: When Team Gleason provides a loaner device, there is no time limit associated with the device. The device can be used as long as it is needed. In a scenario where the pALS is unable to use the device, it must be returned to Team Gleason. Contact Austin Edenfield at tech@teamgleason.org to arrange for the return of the device.

Q: What is voice banking?

A: Voice banking is a way for pALS to create a synthesized or “computerized” version of their natural speaking voice. The benefit to voice banking is that a pALS can use their personal synthesized voice with their AAC device, thus their AAC voice sounds very similar to their physical voice. Voice banking can be done several ways with various software. Access to voice banking can be done with free software, while others have a fee. Team Gleason has partnered with ModelTalker to fund voice banking for pALS in the United States. If you have been diagnosed with ALS and live in the United States, you are eligible for funding through Team Gleason to have your own synthetic voice created through Model Talker. For more info on this free service, please see www.teamgleason.org/modeltalker.

Q: What is message banking?

A: Message banking is a way of recording everyday phrases with their own voice. When a pALS uses a communication device, a synthesized computer voice will “speak” the sentence that is typed. Some may choose to “bank” some often used phrases and store them on their AAC device. Phrases like “I love you”, “I’m proud of you”, and other personal phrases are often “banked” for future use. These phrases are recorded when the pALS still has the ability to speak. For message banking questions, we recommend reviewing John Costello’s work at Boston Children’s Hospital. John has created some helpful material on many topics that can be found here. John has also partnered with TobiiDynavox to develop a message banking platform. Find out more info on that here. You do not have to own a Tobii Dynavox device to use this message banking platform. Clever Monkey Development LLC. has created a free message banking app that is available on the Windows Store as well. For more information, click here.

Other applications are available to record messages for message banking such as:

Sound Recorder – Microsoft

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/record-audio-with-sound-recorder

Audacity

http://audacity.sourceforge.net

 

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for applying for assistance with additional Permobil power wheelchair features including seat elevators, anterior tilt, and/or attendant controls?

A: To be eligible for the Permobil grant, you need to do the following:

  1. This grant only assists on NEW Permobil chair orders with respective features of seat elevators, anterior tilt, and/or attendant controls BEFORE the chair is ordered.If the chair or attendant control has already been ordered, Team Gleason and The Permobil Foundation will not be able to provide assistance.
  2. Fill out the Team Gleason application for assistance. (Available for download at the top of the FAQ page)
  3. Attach a letter of ALS diagnosis to the application from your primary care physician or neurologist.
  4. Your Permobil wheelchair quote from your vendor (NuMotion, National Seating and Mobility, Travis Medical, etc) must be included.
  5. Submit the application and necessary documents to tech@teamgleason.org. A member of Team Gleason will then contact you within two business days.

Due to limited availability, we ask that families living with ALS only apply for these grants if they are truly unable to afford these additions and have exhausted all other options.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for applying for assistance with the Quantum iLevel seat elevator for Quantum power chairs?

A: To be eligible for the Quantum grant, you need to do the following:

  1. This grant only assists on NEW Quantum chair orders with the iLevel seat elevator.If the chair has already been ordered, Team Gleason and Quantum will not be able to provide assistance.
  2. Fill out the Team Gleason application for assistance. (Available for download at the top of the FAQ page)
  3. Attach a letter of ALS diagnosis to the application from your primary care physician or neurologist.
  4. Attach your Quantum wheelchair quote from your vendor (NuMotion, National Seating and Mobility, Travis Medical, etc).
  5. Submit the application and necessary documents to tech@teamgleason.org. A member of Team Gleason will then contact you within two business days.

Due to limited availability, we ask that families living with ALS only apply for these grants if they are truly unable to afford these additions and have exhausted all other options.

Q: What is the process for acquiring home automation technology from Team Gleason?

A:

Fill out our application and attach a letter of diagnosis. A Team Gleason team member will get in touch with you via email to schedule a phone call to discuss what automation equipment will be needed for your individual situation.

– After the assessment phone call, Team Gleason will order everything that is needed, and you will receive an email within one business day from Team Gleason that will include a link to download Axial Control, drivers, an activation key, and your username and password credentials.

-Once your equipment is shipped and on its way to you, you’ll receive a second email from Team Gleason that has a link to some tutorials and step by step instructions, as well as tracking information.

-Once you receive all of your equipment, you will need to hire an electrician to install the equipment (light switches, thermostat, etc.)

-After your equipment has been installed by an electrician, you will be able to control your installed equipment by using the Axial Control software on your communication device.

Q: Do I need an internet connection to control my equipment like lights, thermostat, etc?

A: The equipment that Team Gleason provides utilizes Z-Wave Plus technology, which does not require an internet connection. Each automation package received by a family will include a USB Z-Wave controller, which plugs directly into the USB port of a communication device. This USB Z-Wave controller is the “link” or “bridge” that sends commands to the installed appliances to control them. This means that pALS will still be able to control their lights, thermostats, etc, even if they do not have a Wi-Fi connection.  While the user will need an internet connection to download, install, and activate Axial Control, after Axial Control is installed, it does not require an internet connection. It is important to note, that while the Axial Pro software installed on a communication device or computer does not require internet to work, the Axial app that is available on iPhone and Android does require an internet connection. In short, if you are using Axial from on an Apple or Android device, an internet connection is required to control any installed equipment. If you are using Axial from a Windows based computer, an internet connection is not required to control appliances.

Q: In addition to a pALS using Axial from their communication device, can a caretaker also use Axial from their cellphone to control lights, thermostat, etc?

A: Yes! The Axial app is available for download on both iOS and Android.

For iOS/Apple see: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/axial-control/id408084651?mt=8

For Android see: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mls.incontrol.home.automation

Q: Is Axial Control compatible with Alexa?

A: Yes! You will need to enable the Axial Control skill. See: https://www.amazon.com/InControl-Home-Automation-Axial-Control/dp/B01N0X9GD7

Q: Is Alexa required to use Axial Control?

A: No, not at all. Alexa use is optimal for people living with ALS who are still able to speak clearly and loudly, or for their caretakers to use. A person living with ALS can also communicate with Alexa from their communication device, but in most cases using Axial Control directly with a form of mouse control software (GRID 3, Windows Control, Dragger 2, etc) will be the quickest way to control appliances, rather than typing a command on their communication device for Alexa.

Q: Does my communication device need to be unlocked to use Axial Control?

A: Yes. Axial Control is a Windows program. In order for Axial Control to be installed on a speech-generating device, the device needs to be unlocked for Windows access. Speech-generating devices can be unlocked with a code from the respective manufacturer for a fee which usually ranges from $25-$49. Contact your respective speech-generating device manufacturer for more info.

Q: What automation equipment does Team Gleason currently provide?

A: Currently we are able to provide from the following: lights, thermostat, garage door opener, and lamps.

Q: How much automation equipment will Team Gleason provide me?

A: Each automation package is configured for each individual person living with ALS. A call will be scheduled by a member of Team Gleason to assess each individual’s situation. As Team Gleason is a non-profit organization with limited resources, we are unable to provide automation equipment for an entire house, but generally the room(s) or area(s) the end user occupies the most.

Q: Does Team Gleason provide automation equipment for people with ALS living in nursing homes or facilities?

A: Team Gleason is not able to provide automation equipment for individuals living with ALS who reside in a nursing home or facility.

Q: How much will hiring an electrician to install the equipment cost?

A: There is no clear cut answer to this question. In our experience, an electrician is generally needed for 30 to 90 minutes to install the equipment provided by Team Gleason. Electrician rates vary, but are generally $60-$125 per hour. Team Gleason is not responsible for the cost of the electrician.

Q: Is a neutral feed required in my house in order to install the automation equipment provided by Team Gleason?

A: Yes, a neutral feed is required.

Q: Does Axial provide technical support for people living with ALS and/or their caretakers?

A: Yes. Axial Control technical support is available by phone from Monday-Friday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. CST at (208) 557-9499 or by email at support@axialcontrol.comPlease allow up to one business day for a response from Axial Control.

Q: Aside from technology, what sort of things does Team Gleason assist with?

A: In addition to AAC devices, Team Gleason can provide assistance for home renovations, shower chairs, medical lifts (such as Hoyer, Vanderlift, etc), and other equipment.

Q: What service does Team Gleason employ at the Team Gleason House for Environmental Controls?

A: Team Gleason uses PEAC by Proximis for each room in the Gleason House. For more info on PEAC, visit www.peacautomation.com or call 877.877.0643 x 4

 Q: Does Team Gleason have any instructional videos that can help me learn how to use my AAC device?

A: Yes! Team Gleason has a Technology YouTube page. More videos will be added soon, so check back often here. In addition, many AAC manufacturers have downloadable manuals and/or video tutorials on their respective websites.

Q: What is Steve’s current communication device and set up?

A: Steve is currently using a Surface Pro 4. Steve’s Surface configuration is the i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage. For navigating the computer, Steve is using the Tobii PcEyeMini. The PcEyeMini is an eyegaze tracker that connects to the Surface Pro via the USB port. Since the Surface Pro 4 has one USB port, Steve uses a USB hub to add more USB ports to his Surface. As a side note, Steve’s technology configuration will not work for everyone as noted in prior questions. It is specific to his physical ability and personal preferences.

Q: What programs does Steve use to communicate?

A: Steve uses Balabolka and the Tobii Windows Control keyboard to speak to others. Balabolka is a free download that be found here. To email others, Steve uses an email client called Thunderbird. Thunderbird is free and available for download here. For Windows navigation, Steve uses Tobii Gaze Interaction Software, which is available here: https://www.tobiidynavox.com/en-US/software/windows-software/windows-control/

Q: Where can I find out more information about the EyeDrive Wheelchair?

A: The EyeDrive technology is currently not available, due to FDA regulations and is still in the trial phase. Team Gleason, Microsoft, wheelchair manufacturers and communication device companies, as well as many other agencies and advocates are working to make the technology widely available as soon as possible. Please see https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/eye-controlled-wheelchair/

 

 

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