"The Silent Speak" -- High-Tech Gives New Voice to ALS Patients - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


"The Silent Speak" -- High-Tech Gives New Voice to ALS Patients

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by Mark Curtis ABC6 News Reporter


It may be the most unusual interview I've ever conducted.

Vivian Godin can no longer speak. She lost her voice two years ago to ALS, a neuro-disorder still best known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

But now thanks to high technology, Vivian can speak again.

ALS Patient Vivian Godin said, "The best part is the APP ‘Assistive Chat' which converts text to spoken words."

Vivian and her husband recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.

They were always an active, athletic couple, spending many hours outdoors; that's until ALS came, taking her motor skills and her voice.

The specially equipped I–Pad, with "type and speak" software has been a godsend.

Vivian's husband Richard said, "Her speech got worse and worse. And now it's very hard for her to tell me what's going on sometimes."

ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "Aside from helping her communicate with family and friends, one big benefit of this technology is it helps Vivian talk with her doctors."

Dr. George Sachs has been caring for Vivian's since she was diagnosed by ALS and says the I–Pad helps improve her medical care.

Dr. Sachs, of Rhode Island Hospital said, "Our patient interactions go a lot more easy. She can actually tell me about a lot more things. I think she's actually more willing to talk about things if she can produce a voice."

The ALS Association of Rhode Island is trying to raise more money, for more I–Pads, to give other patients a voice.

Nancy Feroldi of the ALS Association said, "Your world shrinks in a lot. That this reopens the outside world with your friends your families, your colleagues.

And for this loving couple, that means so much.

Vivian Godin said, "My husband Richard is my caregiver. And we have been married 50 years. So all of my conversations with him are special moments." Richard Godin said, "When ever she tells me, I know she loves me, you know 50 years."


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