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Multimodal Communication: Connie

Connie’s Complete Communication System:

Connie has ALS. She spends a good deal of her time in her bed room.   Connie has very little movement below her neck. She uses a number of different modes of communication, both low and high tech.

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Connie: Primary Low Tech System
LOW TECH - Large Scale Communication Board and Laser Pointer

Connie's communication Board




Connie uses a large (35" x 50") communication board for most face to face conversations.

She accesses the board using a small laser pointer attached to her eye glasses. It is a core vocabulary board, customized with family names and frequently used words and phrases.  Connie communicates very quickly and efficiently using this board.

Connie: Low Tech While Out in the Community
LOW TECH - Small Communication Board
When Connie is out in the community, she uses her head mounted laser pointer with a small portable communication board which is about 15 x 20 inches.  This board has less words on it and is simpler than her regular communication board.
Connie: High Tech System

Connie's Computer


HIGH TECH - Computer
Connie uses an Origin Systems Headmouse, in conjunction with a software program called Dasher in order to write emails, and spend time on the internet.

Connie is very computer literate, and uses her computer to write emails, listen to music, read the news, etc. She spends several hours a day on the computer.

Connie's uses the silver dot to move her cursor (using her headmouse).

Connie: Call Button System

Connie uses a switch adapted call button to call for help. (In the video above, she uses a mircrolight switch velcroed to her AFO (foot orthotic). She activates the switch by pressing on it with her toe.

Connie: Gesture

Even though Connie has very little movement, she has come up with a number of gestures that she uses to convey to convey basic needs. Some examples:

  • When Connie  looks up at the ceiling, that means she needs to be pulled up in bed, or pulled up in her wheelchair.

  • When Connie smacks her lips together, that means that she is thirsty, and would like something to drink.

  • When Connie makes a bowing gesture with her head, closes her eyes, and then looks up again, that means “Thank you”.

  • When Connie purses her lips slightly, in a kissing gesture, that means “I love you.”

Connie: Unaided Low Tech (No-Tech)

LOW TECH/NO TECH – Partner Assisted Auditory Scanning
There are times when it is not feasible for Connie to use her laser pointer (for example, when she is in the shower). At times like this, Connie and her caregiver use partner assisted auditory scanning.

LOW TECH/NO TECH - Eye Pointing
Connie will look at things she wants. For example, when she looks towards the bathroom door, that means: “I need to go to the bathroom”.

LOW TECH/NO TECH - Intelligent Guesses

This is probably the most common way that Connie communicates her basic needs. If it seems like she needs something, her caregiver will ask her what she needs, starting with the most likely. For example: "Suction? Position?", etc...