For many individuals with Ataxia, communication can be arduous and exhausting. After all it can grossly effect limb movements, gait, swallowing and speech, making the basic human right of communication quite a challenge.  In 2019 there are many devices available to individuals to assist with communicating their needs, wants, thoughts, and giving back the art of conversation.

The first piece of technology many people with Ataxia choose to purchase is a tablet or mobile device capable of hosting a communication app. Some popular options include Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface computer.

The next piece that is generally purchased is a communication app.  One of the most popular applications out there for people with communication needs, such as Ataxia, is Grid by Smart Box.  Grid is an amazingly customizable communication application that has quickly become the gold standard of AAC (Assistive and Augmentative Communication) apps.  Not only is it very user friendly, it is completely customizable.   Using Grid, the end user simply selects a button in the screen layout and the button then projects the speech of what the programmed response is through a speaker on the computer or tablet.

Grid 3 ScreenWith Grid being so customizable, the end user can make Grid as complex or as simple as they wish. A individual may choose to only use Grid for certain activities such as personal cares, appointments, expressing feelings. While others may choose to use this for every facet of a conversation. There is simply no limit to what Grid can communicate.

An end user can set up a grid of commands within Grid or they may choose to type in what they would like to say on a standard QWERTY or ALPHABET keyboard. Meaning, there is no limit to the language that can be outputted.  Also, with the Grid store, a worldwide layout store where users can download new keyboards, layouts, etc, a user in any language can utilize Grid.

Lastly, if an individual participated in voice banking for whatever reason, their voice can be imported into Grid to be used for the vocal output of the device!  How exciting.