Technology & Equipment

Team Gleason provides assistive technology for people living with ALS to help them continue to live purposeful and productive lives.

Team Gleason’s unique programming extends from providing direct services to individuals living with ALS to seeking broader, more macro-level solutions that will enhance ALS patients’ lives – now, and in the future.

EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

At the heart of Team Gleason’s work is the provision of leading-edge equipment and technological tools that enable persons living with ALS to perform the activities of daily living; to communicate with those around them; and to experience a degree of independence that would otherwise not be possible as a result of the disease. Individuals with ALS can request assistance from Team Gleason for a wide variety of equipment and technology needs.

  • ALS patients lose muscle function over time, making mobility equipment a necessity; this type of equipment enables ALS patients to move more independently and decreases caregiver burden – and, often must be purchased out-of-pocket. Team Gleason provides critically needed mobility equipment to ALS patients, such as shower chairs, wheelchair accessories, and power seat elevators.

     

  • Most people living with ALS will develop issues with speech during the course of their illness, making it hard, or even impossible, to talk. Communication devices, also known as Speech Generating Devices (SGDs), are critical tools for ALS patients who have lost the ability to speak, as the devices use voice output to allow individuals to independently convey thoughts, ideas, and needs. For persons with ALS, Team Gleason helps cover the cost of federal insurance co-pays for these essential communication devices, or provides loaner communication devices where appropriate.
  • While SGDs address the functional side of communication for an ALS patient, losing one’s natural speaking voice can be emotionally devastating. Team Gleason collaborates with Boston Children’s Hospital’s ALS Augmentative Communication Program to connect ALS patients directly with expert guidance and support for proactive voice preservation through voice banking, which creates a synthesized or “computerized” version of a person’s natural speaking voice; BCH Message Banking™, which digitally records and stores words, phrases, sentences, personally meaningful sounds and stories using a person’s natural voice, inflection, and intonation; and ‘Double Dipping,’ which uses a person’s voice banked messages to create a synthetic voice.
  • ALS can strip individuals of the ability to complete basic tasks in their own home, such as turning on the lights or locking the front door. Team Gleason provides ALS patients with customized home automation packages, which can include light switches, thermostats, garage door openers, deadbolts, and outlet controls that work in concert with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or other voice-activated tools.
  • ABILITY DRIVESteve successfully challenged Microsoft during an annual hackathon to create an “Ability Drive” interface that would allow people who are physically disabled to navigate their power wheelchairs with their eyes. Currently, Team Gleason is working with others to develop a deployment strategy to make the technology available . Here is a video on how Ability Drive works:

INNOVATION

While Team Gleason is committed to providing the equipment and technology that individuals with ALS need in the immediate term, the organization is simultaneously focused on innovating for longer term, high-impact technological solutions for ALS patients. Team Gleason collaborates with leading technology companies, organizations, individuals, bioengineering experts, and other stakeholders committed to advancing assistive technologies. In just a few short years, Team Gleason’s innovation efforts have yielded  tremendous outcomes. In an effort to deploy better synthetic voice technology to the ALS community and beyond, Team Gleason brought Microsoft and Google together to collaborate on voice preservation, and, Team Gleason guided the product design process of Comcast’s adaptive remote, to allow people with ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases product control through eye gaze.

In 2020, the organization launched the Team Gleason Assistive Technology (AT) Lab, which is the only AT lab of its kind in Louisiana, and one of only a handful of its kind in the United States. Housed within the Team Gleason headquarters, the AT Lab provides a unique space for individuals to test communication devices, computer access, home automation, environmental controls,and powered wheelchairs, with a goal of making these technological tools accessible to more ALS patients.

Team Gleason has partnered with leaders in technology and innovation to help accelerate not only providing advanced devices, but to create new and more empowering ways to live with ALS.

Recent testimonials regarding pALS experiences with Team Gleason provided technology and their impact on pALS’ and their family’s lives can be found below:

“Until there is a Cure, Technology is the Cure. Donate today to give others like me a voice.”

– Steve Gleason

No white flags!