Alex Knight, avid concert-goer and 29 year old Floridian living with Cerebral Palsy, gave us her honest review of the NeuroNode Trilogy, a speech generating device, and her overall opinion of the product. As a potential user herself, we were eager to hear her thoughts on how she could use the device. Check out her review of the NeuroNode Trilogy, as well as a Q&A section on how she might use the AAC product.
Review of the NeuroNode Trilogy, by Alex Knight
The Control Bionics AAC Trilogy Device is a software product developed for people who are nonverbal or have difficulty speaking. It is loaded on a tablet device approximately 10″ x 12″. The device is named Trilogy due to the three ways it can be accessed by the user for communication. The three access modes are, eye gaze, NeuroNode, and touch.
In each of the three modes, the device will speak the word icon selected. It will also show a picture of the selected word. You have the ability to assemble multiple word icons together in a “speak” window to make full sentences. I tried all three and the following are my impressions:
Mode #1. Eye Gaze (access by looking at the icon that you select from a menu to form words/sentences)
This mode requires that you focus your eyes for a few seconds on the icon you wish to use in order to select it. Due to my Cerebral Palsy, I found this mode difficult for me to keep my head steady long enough to confirm the selection. There are options for the icon sizes that can help if you have a relatively steady head, but it does require calibration time to set it up.
Mode #2. NeuroNode (access by looking at the icon as you do with Eye Gaze, but combines a “watch like” hardware piece that is worn on a users body part such as a wrist or ankle)
This addition of this device allows a shorter viewing time of the icon to be selected by moving or flicking the “watch” to confirm your selection while viewing the icon. I liked this mode. It uses a gross motor movement to confirm your icon selection. It also has an option to add a very sensitive electrode under the “watch” that can pick up even the smallest of movements such as the tightening of a muscle. With practice, selections can be made quickly.
Mode #3. Touch Mode (touching the screen of the tablet to make your selections)
As the name implies, by touching the icon on the tablet, the device will speak the word selected. I found this mode to be the most successful for me.
I am impressed with the Control Bionics Trilogy Device for it’s multiple user options to allow the individual to tailor its program to their abilities. The device delivers on it’s purpose for providing easy communication availability for those with speech disabilities.
What were you able to do with the device that you couldn’t do without it?
The device can help me communicate more clearly when I am upset because my speech is not clear due to my cerebral palsy. I can also communicate more clearly with people who don’t know me and have a hard time understanding me.
When would you see yourself using this device outside of the test environment?
One of the areas that can see myself using this is out in public especially ordering food or asking questions. This is when my speech is most often misunderstood.
In your opinion, would this help other people with cerebral palsy?
I believe that others with CP would definitely benefit from using the device. When an “able bodied”/normal person is talking to someone with CP who has trouble with clear speech, the conversation is minimal. The device would allow much more detailed conversation and give the user the freedom to have conversations they normally wouldn’t be able to participate in.
How easy or difficult was it to set up and start using the device?
Once I was evaluated and taught how to use the device by a speech pathologist who is familiar with the device, it was very easy to use and navigate around the different grids.
What did you like about the Grid 3 software? What page set did you use and why did you choose it?
I used multiple grid sets, but my favorite was “Super Core 50”. I chose this set as the icons were a large size which suited my physical abilities best. It also had a wide variety of often used words which made my selections quick and easy. I liked how simple it is to use.
About the Community Contributor
Alexandra Knight is a 29 year old with Cerebral Palsy, due to pre-maturity living in South Florida. She leads a very active life attending concerts, plays, listening to many different types of music, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. She met Rod Stewart and Peter Noone at their concerts. She attends church services regularly and enjoys the church choir.
Each day she attends Pathways to Independence, a special needs organization where she receives physical and occupational therapy as well as instruction on daily living skills. She also helps the Speech Pathologist with all things AAC. Each year, she attends a special needs camp and connects with friends from many years of participation there. Along with her service dog, Shands, a beautiful golden retriever, she is always on the move.