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- The Augmentative Communication Loan Pool serves to loan
augmentative/alternative communication equipment, free of charge, to
persons diagnosed with ALS who are in need of communicative assistance.
The type of equipment to be loaned is based on each personís individual
needs as identified through a complete assessment conducted by a certified
speech-language pathologist/SLP (not affiliated with the ALSA).
I. Criteria for Accessing Loan Pool
The eligibility criteria for accessing the loan pool are as
ALS Diagnosis and
Living in the Los
Angeles, Ventura, or San Bernardino County and
renters/homeowners insurance by which the loaned equipment will be
Do not possess
health insurance to cover the purchase of a device or
Has been denied
authorization for augmentative communication equipment from his/her
health insurance and cannot afford to purchase own AAC equipment or
Equipment may also
be loaned on an interim basis while waiting for health insurance (i.e.
Medi-Cal, Medicare) to purchase equipment. Upon receipt of the equipment
purchased by health insurance, the borrowed equipment would be returned
to loan pool.
II. Procedures for Accessing Augmentative Communication
Loan Pool Services
PALS or responsible party contacts the Augmentative Communication
Loan Pool Director, via telephone or e-mail.
The AAC Director
will respond to the inquiries the next business day. Upon discussing the
process for qualifying for participation in the AAC program, both the
AAC Director and the PALS/or family member contact the appropriate
agency to schedule a speech evaluation, if not already conducted, to
determine appropriate device. Insurance coverage possibilities are
verified by both the SLP and the AAC Director.
Once the speech
evaluation is completed, a written report is submitted to the AAC
Director, with specific recommendations for appropriate equipment for
the PALS. Upon review of this report, and communication with the SLP, a
determination is made regarding the needs of the PALS, and all necessary
paperwork is submitted to insurance, if applicable.
If the PALS is not
able to obtain the recommended device through insurance or other
financial means, then the AAC Director reviews the loan pool inventory
list to determine if the recommended device is available. If the device
is available, the AAC Director schedules a time to meet with the PALS
and family members to deliver the device, or schedule training with a
designated trainer for that particular device. If the device needed is
unavailable, the AAC Director reviews the budget and determines if the
device meets the established criteria for purchasing new equipment. If
the budget permits, a copy of the speech evaluation, along with the
written recommendation of the AAC Director is submitted to the Director
of Patient Services for approval.
The Director of
Patient Services reviews the reports and determines if the request is
valid. If denied, the Director of Patient Services will offer
Once the equipment
has been purchased/received, the AAC Director coordinates the delivery
of the equipment as well as the signing of the appropriate loan
agreement and other pertinent documentation. A copy of the PALS
homeowners/renters insurance policy must be provided to the AAC Director
before any equipment is to be loaned. The AAC Director then arranges a
date for training on the equipment for the PALS and his/her caregiver(s).
III. Types of Augmentative/Alternative Communication Devices
Dedicated devices - Produce synthesized or digitized speech
output. Some, but not all dedicated devices can be interfaced with
computers in order to download information. Dedicated devices function
solely for face-to-face communication and cannot perform other computer
functions. In essence, the person types a novel message or retrieves a
pre-programmed message, and the device repeats it for the listener. The
following are examples of dedicated devices (but are not limited to the
LINK, by Assistive
( Synthesized Speech Output)
LightWriter SL35, by
(Synthesized Speech Output)
DynaVox 3100, by
Dynavox Systems, Inc.
(Synthesized Speech Output)
Message Mate, by
Words +, Inc.
(Digitized Speech Output)
Multipurpose devices - Use regular microcomputers, personal
computers or laptops in conjunction with special software in order to not
only communicate as one would with a dedicated device but to accomplish
tasks one does on a computer (i.e. e-mail friends, access the internet,
play games). The following are examples of multipurpose devices (but are
not limited to the following):
Freedom 2000 Lite,
by Words+, Inc.
Polyana, by Zygo
by Gus Comm, Inc.
For further augmentative communication equipment information, you may go
How to obtain equipment and evaluations:
Contact Beth Ryan, Augmentative Communication Director at (310) 888-8787
or [email protected] for information.
The ALS Association Greater
Los Angeles Chapter • P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-0565, Tel: (818)
contained on this web site may not be published, broadcast or otherwise
distributed without the prior written authorization of The ALS Association.
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