About Jim’s Voice
The Susan Mast ALS Foundation offers communication and speech support through the Jim’s Voice program. Jim’s Voice was started in December 2019, inspired by Jim Berry, who lived with and advocated for those with ALS. Jim’s mission was to ensure people living with ALS have the necessary tools and resources available to help with their communication needs.
Though many people with ALS (pALS) experience changes in their speech and/or voices, there are many tools and techniques that provide hope for effective communication for pALS. The Jim’s Voice program offers the guidance of a speech language pathologist (SLP) to navigate the options of digital voice preservation (including voice and message banking) and various alternative and augmentative communication tools. We offer the following services free of charge to pALS and loved ones in our West Michigan service area:
- Individual and group education sessions covering communication tools, strategies, and next steps to proactively manage communication impairment
- Individualized assistance with digital voice preservation (voice banking and message banking) from start to finish, including loaner recording equipment
- Collaboration with your local SLP on your communication goals/needs
- Communication loan closet
- Online resources and guides on alternative and augmentative communication topics for pALS and communication partners
Jim’s Voice services are currently offered primarily via Zoom, phone, and e-mail. Please note that evaluations for insurance-funded speech generating devices and medical concerns including swallowing problems must be directed to your medical team and primary speech language pathologist.
For more information or individual support, contact Natsumi Asanuma, MS, CCC-SLP via email at email@example.com or 616-622-3066 ext. 4.
Jim’s Voice Loan Closet
Though 80% of the cost of speech generating devices and mounts are typically covered by Medicare, other necessary communication tools may not be readily accessible to all pALS who need them. Co-pays, insurance coverage, type or location of care (e.g. facility, hospice, etc.), and the time it takes to receive the needed equipment can be barriers to having the right communication equipment at the right time.
We encourage pALS and their support teams to be proactive in learning about communication tools and to partner with your clinic/local SLP to receive the appropriate evaluations for alternative and augmentative communication to ensure communication tools are best suited for your needs.
We are grateful to those who have donated equipment and funds to offer the following types of items in our Jim’s Voice Loan Closet:
- Voice and message banking recording equipment
- LCD writing tablets (e.g. Boogie Board)
- Personal voice amplifiers
- Adaptive call bells
- Alternative access tools (e.g. styluses, switches, adaptive mouse/keyboard)
- Speech/communication apps and tablets*
- Eye gaze speech generating devices and mounts*
*Note: In order to maximize success with speech devices, apps, and tablets, a speech language pathologist recommendation/support may be required.
Loan closet items may be pre-owned/used and are dependent on availability.
Do you have Jim’s Voice Loan Closet items to return? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a prepaid return shipping label or to make other return arrangements.
Speech & Communication Resources Guide
For more information on speech, communication, and AAC resources, see this online resource guide.
The Jim’s Voice program would not be possible without the generous donation provide by the Andy J. Egan Co., Inc.
Thank you for your support!