Neill has a condition called secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) which affects the brain and nervous system. Over time a person with progressive MS loses their ability to control their muscles, which can include the muscles we use to speak
A person who can not talk may use augmented or alternative communication (AAC) designed to replace speaking. Depending on their condition and physical abilities, these can include gesture, signing, symbols, word boards and books, as well as voice output communication aids, which produce speech electronically. These types of AAC devices can be controlled through an iPad, laptop, computer or screen and can be activated by a touch screen, a switch, joystick or even a person’s eye gaze. Neill uses communication software on his computer which he controls using a head switch and allows him to write.
“My communication device has afforded me the opportunity to not only write but also send emails and to shop online. I’d be lost without it. I have received confirmation that funding for a new device has been granted. This new device will allow me to control simple things like turning a TV on and off. The positive effects to my health and self-esteem can only be imagined... I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to give the speechless a voice!”