2004 Conference Proceedings

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THE ALS ASSOCIATION AND AUGMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION: RESULTS OF A NATIONAL TASK FORCE

Presenters
Iris Fishman, MA, CCC-SLP,
Private Practice
15 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023
212 724 6471
Email: fishmani@aol.com

Pat Ourand, MS, CCC-SLP,
President
Associated Speech and Language Services
104 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 302
Towson, MD 21286
410-825 9445
Email: pourand@aslsinc.com

Mary Lyon, RN, MN,
Vice President of Patient Services
The ALS Association
27001 Agoura Road, Suite 150
Calabasas Hills, CA 91301
818 880 9007 ext 217
Email: mary@alsa-national.org

This presentation will describe the work of ALSA Speaks!, a national task force, sponsored by the ALS Association, consisting of professionals and manufacturers working in the fields of AAC and AT. The purposes of the task force was to first identify the needs of the ALS population in these areas and then to develop resources, materials and guidelines that will improve the delivery of AAC/AT services to people with ALS.

ALSA Speaks! is spearheaded by Mary Lyon, RN, MN, Vice President of Patient Services of The ALS Association, based in Calabasas Hills, California. Two speech pathologists experienced in working with AAC with people with ALS, Iris Fishman, MA, CCC-SLP and Pat Ourand, MS, CCC-SLP, coordinated the groups that worked on the specific projects identified by the task force members.

The task force had its first in person meeting at CSUN, the Technology for People with Disabilities Conference held in Los Angeles in March of 2002 and since then has had a number of face to face and audio conference meetings. In May of 2003, the group reconvened at the ALS Association's Annual Leadership Conference in Washington DC to put the final edits on a number of deliverables it produced, including:

One result of the task force was that professionals from different specialties were brought together to talk about issues that they usually do not have a chance to discuss. For example, in some clinics serving people with ALS, speech pathologists provide AAC services, while in others, there is an AT specialist who may be an occupational therapist, a rehabilitation engineer or a member of another profession. The positives and negatives of having services delivered by one or the other of these specialties was discussed.

In addition to sharing the materials developed by ALSA Speaks!, the presenters will solicit feedback from the audience concerning additions or modifications as well as how they would like to see the materials implemented and distributed across the nation. Through the efforts of this task force, The ALS Association hopes to improve the delivery of AAC/AT services to all people with ALS.


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