Loss Of Speech Pending- What Now?

Hi All,

The next ‘drop’ in my Gran’s MND progression is looming and, as always, I’d like to be prepared before it happens.

In the space of a couple of weeks, my Gran’s left arm has gone from being partially atrophied to almost completely. Luckily, she is right-handed so she’s still able to write things down. However, I’ve noticed that her right-hand grip has started to weaken. As her speech is almost illegible now, I am wondering if anyone has any ideas on communication aids.

I can’t see her wanting to use any form of technology (i.e. ipads with speech apps and all that malarkey). I don’t even think she’ll get on very well with eye-gaze tech of similar types.

Does this mean she’s going to be limited to spelling boards?

This is the ‘phase’ I’ve been terrified about from the beginning. Up until now, she can tell me/carers/nurses what she wants/needs and whether she’s uncomfortable or in pain so that she can be moved appropriately (until she can tell us she’s in a reasonable state of comfort). I can’t see it being an easy process if she has to try and communicate that (for example) she needs her left ankle positioning slightly more to the left of the bed and the like.

Any ideas greatly welcomed.

(Btw the Speech and Language Therapist hasn’t been around for 3 weeks and she’s never given Gran anything to help with speech up to now. She’s also got quite a ‘bullying-type’ attitude about her. The SLT proceeded to tell my Gran ‘You have an attitude’, which was wholly inappropriate and resulted in Gran writing down to her that she is a bully. Basically, she’s an unreliable source of help in this instance.)

My late husband had laminated pages of pictures with captions (smallish pictures, so maybe 20 to a page) made up by the SLT. They focussed on the things he was most likely to need. You could make up something similar if your SLT won’t provide them. However, it does rely on the user having the ability to point to the one needed, or the carer needs to go through them until it is clear they have got the right one. You therefore need to keep the numbers to the absolute minimum so it doesn’t take all day to find out they are thirsty, or in pain.
I wish you both well as you prepare.