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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 18

MSWA

MSWA MEMBER ALMA-JEAN IS ALL SMILES IN PINJARRA LARA RUSHTON, MSWA SPEECH PATHOLOGIST BUNBURY Member Alma-Jean Crowley has been living with multiple sclerosis for over thirty years and has never let her diagnosis dampen her positive spirit. Last year, one simple question got the ball rolling and Alma-Jean was introduced to some of the services the MSWA speech pathology team provides. As a former nurse, Alma-Jean noticed changes in her swallowing and decided to email the MSWA speech pathology team for some tips regarding travelling with dysphagia. Alma-Jean was hoping to plan a train journey across Australia and wasn’t sure how she would manage easily, thickening her own drinks along the way. The MSWA speech therapist was able to show her a range of single-serve premixed thickened fluids which are ready to go and perfect for travel as they don’t require any preparation. After meeting Alma-Jean face to face, her softly spoken voice lead to a referral to the Communication and Assistive Technology Service (CATS) at Fiona Stanley hospital. She was blown away by the different types of technology and services available in 2018. Since this visit, Alma-Jean has trialled an iPad with a textto-speech application that ensures no one misses hearing anything she has to say! The application offers a personal word prediction engine with the option of several voices that can be used to enhance voice output. It even has a cheeky wolf whistle which is perfect for getting the attention of Alma-Jean’s Committee Members when she is at her regular community meetings. “It is absolutely amazing as to what can be done today with people living with MS… the mind boggles! Even the drinks that you have introduced me to have worked wonders, and all one must do is simply ask you experts. One happy customer.” Alma-Jean, we hope we helped you with some tips and tools that will help you plan your trip and are looking forward to seeing some of your happy snaps! 16 | MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018

COMMUNICATING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: WHAT’S NEW? LUCY STROM, MSWA SPEECH PATHOLOGIST Some people with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions find it difficult using Smartphones to text or surf the internet because these devices are becoming smaller every year. And with that, the keyboards are becoming smaller and harder to use too. These smaller keyboards are particularly hard to use for people with limited hand mobility, decreased sensation in their fingers or those who experience chorea (an uncontrolled movement). Some people simply have large fingers that press three buttons at once, instead of the one that they want to press! If you are one of these people, don’t worry. There are some exciting new (and free) iOS applications (Apps) and wireless devices out at the moment that are helping people communicate through technology! AntzFree - Use your head! AntzFree is a fantastic new free iOS App that uses your front facing camera to follow your head movements like a mouse (hands free). So far, the device includes a keyboard that allows text to speech, but developers hope to include Twitter and games in the future! Vysor Vysor is a Chrome mirroring App that displays your Smartphone on your computer or laptop. This App is great for people who have difficulty using small phones or tablet keyboards. Once your phone is wirelessly connected to your computer you can use your larger computer keyboard and mouse to send text messages, surf the internet, check your bank accounts or update your Facebook status. The Vysor App does cost about $2.50 a month, so make sure that it is appropriate for you. Wireless keyboards Wireless keyboards are a great way to attach a larger surface to your Smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth. There is a wide range of wireless keyboards available, ranging from $10 at Kmart to $120 Logitech keyboards. I would suggest going to your nearest Officeworks or JB HI-FI to look through their options. These stores will let you try the device before you buy it, so make sure that your Bluetooth connection on your phone is working before you purchase anything. Text to speech or speech to text? Did you know that there are several iPhone and Android applications (Apps) that you can use to communicate more effectively? Some of these Apps create speech from text and others create text from speech... Are you still with me? Let’s start with Apps that convert text to speech. To use these Apps, you simply type what you want to say into your smartphone or tablet, click ‘speak’ and the App will talk for you! These Apps are particularly helpful for people who have quiet voices or difficulty talking. Listed below are some Apps that convert text to speech: • ClaroCom • Text To Speech • SayIt • Speak4Me • Predictable • Speak My Words - Text to Speech Just to confuse you, there are some Apps that work the other way around, so they turn your speech into text when you speak into your device. These Apps are great for people on the go who want to quickly send text messages or emails but don’t have time to sit down and type out a message. One example of this is using ‘Siri’ on your iPhone. If you have an iPhone, Siri is a great way to search the internet quickly, send text messages, check the weather and make calls without having to touch your telephone! Some Apps that turn speech into text include: • Dragon Dictation • Speech to Text Dictate Message • Transcribe - Speech to Text • iSpeech - Speech to Text If you are interested in using any of the new technology mentioned in this article please contact one of our Speech Pathologists on 9365 4888, or feel free to come down to the Speech Pathology office at Wilson for a free trial on one of our iPads. MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018 | 17