My name is Richard Brenton. I am 76 years old and have had bulbar onset ALS for two years. I was contacted by Tara and Tim of CAYA last year (through the ALS Society) while I still had a near normal voice. Knowing that would not last, they gave me an iPad and a recorder whereby I could record whatever I wished. At a later date, they categorized and transferred my recordings to the iPad so I can be heard some of the time in my own voice.

This talking iPad has got to be the most useful gift I have ever received. I can’t imagine being unable to communicate with loved ones. I can even use it on the phone. Sure, I could write as long as my hands continue working, but what about my grandchildren too young to read? I am very grateful to CAYA to have maintained my ability to relate to others. I am still able to participate in community affairs, albeit in a more subdued manner. I feel that as time and practise continue, and as others become more familiar with my methods, I will again be able to hold my own in discussion.

I have a son, Kelsey, who suffered a brain injury from an accident in 2001. He was left with a thin wispy voice which limited his ability to communicate. I mentioned this to Tara and Tim and they agreed to meet with him. Now he is set up with his iPad, and me with mine. We can clearly communicate with each other, and our friends, family, and associates. Kelsey lives in a care facility and needs to communicate with his caregivers to convey his wishes and needs. Tim set up a very functional wheelchair stand for the iPad so it is always at hand.

We both need to improve our typing skills, but the predictive app is a great help in that regard. The follow-up that we receive from Tara and Tim enables us to get our questions answered and make maximum use of our devices.