Holyoke, MA — A woman who has been paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair since 1977 can now communicate via an iPad app.
She is now also able to “hear” her own voice for the first time since she suffered traumatic brain injuries in a car crash and lost her speaking ability. The woman has been living at the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke for many years since the accident.
Janis Godere, 65, used to point to letters and words a laminated sheet of paper with her right hand to express herself, an obviously time-consuming process. But after some practice, a free text-to-speech touchscreen app called “Verbally” has restored her “voice.” Godere calls her computer Angel Marie.
Verbally features an on-screen keyboard along with a core words and core phrases grid.
According to MassLive.com, Godere’s family was responsible for introducing the iPad app as part of her therapy:
“Godere’s sister, Judy Raymond, and brother-in-law, Dr. Howard Raymond, also saw a segment on television on how the app helped autistic children speak and were inspired. They purchased the iPad and applied for a $500 grant from the Will Power Foundation to get special hardware to have the iPad permanently welded on to Godere’s wheelchair.
“While the iPad costs around $1,000, the app is free.”
Of the application, Dr. Raymond noted that “it’s unlocked things in her brain.”
A somewhat similar iPad app called Grid Player has enabled a wheelchair-bound man in the UK to vocalize for the first time in two decades. Kevin Beverly was severely beaten in a random attack and lost the ability to speak. The app now allows him to communicate with the staff of the rehab facility where he lives as well as family and friends.