ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
I have started to put together a list of web sites which have information on ALS, or information which may be helpful to ALS patients, families, or caregivers. If you know of other useful links, or have suggestions for improvements to this page, please
send them to me.
- E-triloquist - A free speaking utility which
reads aloud phrases which are typed in to it. A Windows utility, E-triloquist
provides an easy means to store and retrieve commonly used words or phrases. E-triloquist
Version 5.0 includes US English Male and/or Female voices as part of
the free package. E-triloquist can play pre-recorded sound files as well as
performing free-form speech synthesis. See the E-triloquist
home page for details and download instructions.
- CHIPSpeakingtm (Conversational Help for Individuals with Problems Speaking) is
a similar, free (non-commercial), text-to-speech communication aid based on the Microsoft Agent voices. The web site includes
the download of the program, various Microsoft Agent characters/voices, and some background.
- MyVoice X - A free speech application for the Macintosh and Windows.
MyVoice X works with Mac OSX, Mac Classic as well as Windows. It allows you to enter and save your
own phrases, and have them spoken by the computer.
- Proloquo - from AssistiveWare.
A Multipurpose and multilingual speech solution for Mac OS X utilizing both pictures and words. Can be combined with
their KeyStrokes virtual on-screen keyboard and
SwitchXS switch access solution for the Macintosh.
- Words+ manufactures
electronic devices that let people communicate, access computers, control their
environment, and more. They also sell augmentative communication software
products, including EZ Keys for
Windows. EZ Keys is a software program designed to enable people with
disabilities to operate a computer. EZ Keys for Windows is most often used in
conjunction with other Windows applications such as word processors or web
browsers. It can also operate stand alone as a full-featured voice communication
and environmental control program. EZ Keys includes mouse emulation, word
prediction, instant phrases, abbreviation expansion, scanning keyboards for
single-switch use, and more. Demo versions are available for downloading from
the Words+ web site.
- Talk Now for Android - free app lets you use your Android phone or tablet to vocalize your needs.
Select a phrase from a set of categories to have it spoken. Talk Now comes pre-loaded with common phrases and categories, or you can add your own. Talk Now can even play recorded messages.
On-Screen Keyboards, Word Predictors, and Related Software/Hardware:
- Click-N-Type virtual keyboard from Lake Software is a free on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard.
- Dasher - an
information-efficient text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous
pointing gestures. Dasher is a competitive text-entry system wherever a full-
size keyboard cannot be used. There are Windows, Unix, and PDA (Pocket PC) versions available.
The Special Needs page
also has information for connecting E-triloquist and Dasher (go to the bottom of the page for
- Origin Instruments Corporation
SofType® On-Screen Keyboard for Windows. Demo versions
available for downloading. SofType® is an on-screen keyboard designed to
allow users with motor impairments, which hinder use of a normal hardware
keyboard, to type into Windows applications. SofType® can be used to input
speech into E-triloquist, or other programs. Includes Word Prediction, keyboard
scanning for use with a single-switch (adaptive switch), and more.
- WiViK® is another Windows
on-screen accessible keyboard with options for single- or multi-switch scanners
and word prediction. WiViK® can be used to input speech into E-triloquist or
other programs. A 30-day demo version is available
- Prentke Romich Company sells a variety of Augmentative Communication Products
and Accessories, Mounts, and Switches. For example, they make the Headmaster
Plus which allows you to control your computer's cursor using your head.
- beKey on-screen keyboard - an on-screen keyboard including both word prediction and next-word from be-enabled. Free 30 day trial version is available.
- My-T-Mouse is a Windows software program that provides on-screen keyboards, user programmable macro buttons, and other functions to create a powerful interface compatible with any pointing device (Mice, Trackballs, Touchscreens, GlidePads, Pens, Switches, Digitizers, etc.), while providing complete access and control over all computer functions. Demos can be downloaded from their web site. My-T-Mouse and other IMG products work with all Windows applications and run under all Windows graphic environments.
- Hot Virtual Keyboard - a virtual keyboard that has many features for users with physical
disabilities. Fully customizable look and behavior. There are more than 60 different virtual on-screen keyboards supplied with Hot Virtual Keyboard.
Programmable buttons for performing routine operations such as copying and pasting text. Keys to launch applications, open Web pages or run macros with a single tap.
Word auto-complete to make typing faster and more accurate than ever. Support of multiple languages and keyboard layouts. Special typing aid functions.
- Microsoft Accessibility Technology - Information from Microsoft on accessibility
capability within their products, and links to 3rd party add-on products.
Hardware - Alternative Input and other Physical Devices:
- Asyst provides communication and home
control products and services for people with disabilities. Products include
a variety of specialized hardware products as well as custom solutions which they
develop by working together with the individual to determine the best plan for
- Crestwood Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Communication Aids for Children and Adults, including a new hand-held speaking aid.
- Speech Enhancertm - A headset-like device which makes speech clearer electronically.
- VisionKey from EyeCan - Portable eye tracking keyboards
- DynaVox Technologies - Dedicated touch and eye-controlled communication
- Tobii ATI - assistive technology and eye gaze technologies.
Resource Pages created by PALS (People with ALS) and their Caregivers
- ALS Network. "a central site where PALS can track and follow the treatment programs and ALS status of other PALS in the battle with ALS." Also includes info on Living with ALS as well as resources for patients and caregivers.
- Rideforlife.com - News and information of interest to PALS and caregivers, plus PALS Profiles and a calendar for ALS-related events and support groups.
- www.alsforums.com provides a free service in the form of a moderated
Internet support group. The support community consists of individuals
working together to exchange information and offer moral support. You're
not alone! Together, we provide hope, information, support, and friendship
to people affected by ALS/MND; mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters and
Links to More Links and other Information Resources:
- The Les Turner ALS Foundation - the nation's largest independent publicly supported non-profit organization devoted to the treatment and elimination of ALS. The Foundation supports the ALS community in Chicago and its suburbs and is affiliated with
Northwestern University Medical School. Their web site includes background about what ALS is, resources for people with ALS and their families, information about the Foundation's programs to help people with ALS, and ways in which you can help the Foundation. They have been a tremendous help to my family and many others.
- The Neuromuscular Disorders Program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine - provides information about the world-renown research and clinical programs at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Learn about their clinics and expert and compassionate staff. Meet the research team and read about their current investigations. Explore research projects that interest you.
- The ALS Association's
mission is to lead the fight to cure and treat ALS
through global, cutting-edge research, and to empower people with Lou
Gehrig's disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing
them with compassionate care and support. They provide a wide variety of
services through Advocacy, Patient Services Programs, Research, and
Events that help support each of these areas. The National ALS
Association website has information concerning the ALS disease and
research and may be accessed at www.alsa.org. The ALS Association,
Arizona Chapter, is one of 42 individual state chapters throughout the
USA, and has many resources available for people with ALS and their
families, including Support Groups, Patient Care Programs (including
Respite, Transportation, and DME Loan Closet), Contact Information, and
more. It may be accessed at www.alsaz.org.
- International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations. Includes an on-line newsletter,
summaries of past symposiums, and a directory of all the countries and organizations involved with the ALS/MND Association.
- MEDLINE - pre-eminent medical library and search engine.
- Interwork Institute, San Diego State University; Disability Websites, Rehabilitation Counseling Services, and Job Assistance.
- Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis.
- The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is a network of
community-based resource centers dedicated to providing information and
support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing
their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies. Centers can
be found all across the country. Their web page includes a profile of ATA, a
list of assistive centers organized by state, links to vendors of assistive
devices and software, and other resources.
- Assistive Technology News Portal - Axistive offers free news, articles, product
reviews and all product and vendor information of assistive technology devices. You will find objective information on how
to use and find devices that make the use of, and access to the digital world easier.
- Doctor's guide to ALS Information & Resources. Medical news and information for patients or friends/parents of patients diagnosed with ALS and ALS-related disorders.
- RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) is "an interdisciplinary association of people with a common interest in technology and disability".
Their site includes a Directory of Certified Assistive Technology Practitioners (ATP) and Suppliers (ATS).
- University of Cincinnati Health Library Comprehensive
article with numerous resource links covering What ALS is; Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis; and Treatment and Research.
All resources included here are provided as a service to the reader, and do not imply endorsement of any of the products or services presented here. Follow the links and make your own judgement.