Odds are that in your lifetime, if you do not need assistive technology (AT), someone you know and/or love will. The need for AT may be due to many different issues such as a repetitive stress injury, limited movement due to Multiple Sclerosis, injuries related to a severe car accident,  or a memory loss due to dementia.  Sometimes that need is only temporary, but it can make all of the difference in the world.  Just ask Fiona!

“My name is Fiona. A year ago I lost the use of my voice due to an infection. At the time, I only had a small dry erase board as the means for communicating. After the first few months, a speech therapist I had seen told me about IPAT, and that I may be able to rent a lightwriter from them. They sent the device in the mail to my home, and I was elated when I received the device in the mail, as I was able to take it with me to stores and doctors appointments. I felt as though I could be heard again after so many months of only being able to give “yes” or “no” answers.


During the time I was renting the LightWriter, I became aware of an iPod application that had the type to talk ability. I was very pleased to find out that IPAT had one available for me to try. I was able to go to their office in Fargo to exchange machines. I felt so well taken care of and comfortable when visiting the IPAT offices. While I was there. I also was given much more information for assistive devices, TTY assistance, and even was introduced to another person similar to me to email.


They had downloaded multiple applications with the type to speak ability from basic needs applications to application with various voices available, which I have to say is so much nicer than the old electronic sounding voices. Because I was able to rent the device, I could try out all the different applications, so I would have a better idea of which ones worked for me.


I now had the more portable and convenient iPod. I was able to return to work as a nursing assistant the local hospital. I really felt like I had regained so much of my independence back again. I started using a TTY system to make phone calls and after renting the iPod from IPAT, I purchased one of my own.


I am so thankful for IPAT and that they seem to continuously striving to update and research new assistive devices, and also they make the effort to update you to what’s available. Thank you so much to the IPAT team for all your help and for making a difficult situation more manageable. I have since seen a voice specialist at the Cleveland Clinic and regained the use of my voice after a year. I really don’t know what would have happened if IPAT hadn’t been available for me during the past year. I felt so isolated and misunderstood at times, and they helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life. Thanks again!”


About Author

Jeannie Krull is the Program Manager for ND Assistive (formerly IPAT). She is an ASHA certified speech/language pathologist and a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional, who has worked with people with disabilities of all ages since 1991.