Augmentative and Alternative Communication Aids for LEMS Patients

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Aids for LEMS Patients
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Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is an autoimmune disease affecting the nervous system. Patients with LEMS may have difficulty speaking due to weakness in the jaw, throat, and tongue muscles. Speech therapists can help patients develop an exercise routine to strengthen affected muscles and ease communication. In some cases, patients may also need communication aids.

What are communication aids?

Communication aids are devices that help with communication. They can be as sophisticated as a specialized device linked to a computer, or as simple as a pack of communication cards or a pad of paper and pencil.

Text-to-speech interfaces

There are now programs and applications (apps) for most cellphones and computers that have a text-to-speech interface allowing patients to type what they want to say and the device speaks for them. The voices are programmed from a number of options and don’t need to sound robotic. Medical companies also have specialized text-to-speech devices that may be covered by insurance.

Symbol-to-speech devices

Symbol-to-speech devices use a symbol to represent a word or idea. Patients press the symbol, and the device speaks a set phrase. These may also be covered by insurance.

How do I obtain a communication aid?

If you feel you would benefit from a communication aid, discuss with your physician and speech therapist. They will help determine which type of device or system may be the most effective and convenient for you and your specific needs and to guide you on the steps to obtain one.

 

Last updated: Jan. 27, 2020

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Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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