Imagine for a moment knowing that within months you will lose your voice forever. This is the reality for Lisa.
Lisa’s voice is weaker than it was in 2014 when she was first diagnosed with ALS. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS affects the parts of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement, including the ability to speak.
The team at Pine Tree Society is working with Lisa to set up tools that will allow her to communicate in her own voice after she loses the ability to talk.
Pine Tree Society’s speech language pathologists are recording Lisa’s voice into a message bank. Because she is losing the ability to use her arms and hands, we are teaching Lisa to use eye-tracking technology. Eye tracking is a perfect fit for people who are unable to physically use a computer mouse or type on a keyboard. A special camera picks up light reflections from Lisa’s pupils and translates that movement into the movement of her mouse cursor. Lisa can then select the item by staring at the screen for a length of time and blinking. Through the use of eye motion, she’ll be able to select words, letters and icons on a device to communicate what she wishes to say from her personalized message bank.
For someone who has lost the ability to speak, being able to have a way to communicate in their own voice is very empowering and is also irreplaceable for loved ones. After she’s lost her voice, her family will still be able to hear her say “I love you,” ask how their day was and Lisa will be able to let them know what she needs.
The funding Pine Tree Society receives through reimbursement for services only covers a portion of our expenses. We need your help to continue to offer these innovative, life-changing services to people like Lisa. Your donation will be put to work immediately to impact the lives of Maine children and adults with disabilities and their families. This year, we project we will impact more than 8,000 people throughout the State of Maine. We cannot do it without you. Together, we can transform lives. Thank you.
Noel J. Sullivan
President and CEO