One AAC solution, one SLP evaluation, and one funding application.
THE NEURONODE: AN INTRODUCTION FOR SLPS
The NeuroNode is at the heart of the Control Bionics AAC product line. This device has multiple access methods built into one, small, wearable device. The user can control their communication system utilizing the NeuroNode’s EMG or Spatial mode.
EMG (electromyography) is the measurement of electrical activity associated with the activation of a muscle group as detected by non-invasive electrodes on the surface of the skin. The NeuroNode’s use of EMG in an assistive device is a technological breakthrough, but EMG has been used in clinical and research settings since the 1980s for the diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases, rehabilitation, and controlling prosthetic devices. It’s a proven, reliable technology.
The NeuroNode uses a patient’s EMG signal as a switch, allowing even someone with what appears to be complete paralysis to operate a computer. This assistive communication device is highly effective for patients with ALS/MND, SCI, and cerebral palsy. Importantly, the NeuroNode allows communication to continue uninterrupted if a patient is put on a ventilator. This means your patient will not have to choose between communicating with their loved ones and breathing.
Spatial mode allows the device to track its location in space and create a switch based on that location. The clinician can define a specific area, or specific plane of movement (up/down, left/right, forward/backward). When the patient moves the switch outside of that area, or along that plane of movement, a switch is created which can be used to control their communication device.
Questions about whether the NeuroNode is right for your patient? Contact Us!
THE NEURONODE IN THE CLASSROOM
Since the NeuroNode’s launch at the Assistive Technology Industry Associate (ATIA) Control Bionics has been working to implement this new device into classrooms across the country. One of our first clients, Maeve, is a student in the New York area diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Maeve’s teachers, clinicians, and AT team had struggled for years to find a reliable access method to maintain her educational goals – then came NeuroNode! Learn more about Maeve’s story below!
ASSESSING A PATIENT FOR A COMMUNICATION DEVICE
Many SLPs know that many factors must be considered when assessing a patient for a speech-generating / assistive device: their wants and needs, degree of voluntary movement, energy level, and cognitive abilities are key. We understand a lot of trial and error might be involved in finding the right fit, and we’re here to help you along the way!
Good candidates often fit one of these profiles:
A person with a degenerative disease, such as ALS/MND.
This person might start using a Control Bionics Communication Device in the early stages of their illness. As the disease progresses, they will not have to learn a new device, or method of access, when their cognition might be more impaired. (Please note that people in the later stages of ALS/MND can also learn to use the NeuroNode. Starting early is not a requirement!)
A person with a spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or partial paralysis. Whether or not this person needs the help of the NeuroNode to speak, they will find the NeuroNode an extremely simple, effective way to use a computer and operate environmental controls.
A person who has severe or profound communication needs or is on a ventilator, regardless of whether they are paralyzed. Using the NeuroNode becomes second nature – patients tell us that they feel like they actually become the switch, making it an extremely fast, efficient way to speak using a computer. For those suffering from extreme fatigue, the NeuroNode is much less tiring than an eye, press, or puff switch.
HOW IT WORKS
The NeuroNode is attached to the patient using an adhesive electrode or non-adhesive electrode and NeuroBand. The patient can set the NeuroNode to activate in one of two modes, EMG or Spatial.
Once a mode is determined, the clinician utilizes the NeuroNode Controller Application to ensure the patient can made a switch. The application provides visual and verbal feedback as well as real time graphing of the clients signaling ability – making calibration and customization a quick and simple process.
The NeuroNode amplifies and interprets the clients signal, then sends it to the clients Control Bionics communication device.
On the communication device, this switch is translated into a mouse click to manipulate the clients communication and control software. This can allow the patient to operate a keyboard appropriate to their needs – from something very simple, like a list of a few words, to a full alphanumeric keyboard with predictive text for speaking and writing in fluent, complete thoughts. The mouse controls can provide full access to all of the computer’s features for web browsing, sending email, etc.
EQUIPMENT INCLUDED WITH THE NEURONODE
The NeuroNode wireless and wearable EMG communication device
NeuroNode Controller software application
12-Month supply of clinical-grade adhesive EMG sensors. Different types of sensors are available, depending on your patient’s needs.
12-Month 24/7 telepresence technical support
24-Month product warrant period, coving the cost and replacement of the NeuroNode device.
ATTACHING THE SENSORS: FINDING A WORKING NERVE SIGNAL IN SOMEONE WHO IS PARALYZED
Finding the best site for the NeuroNode is a process of trial and error. The clinician typically works with an expert from Control Bionics, along with the patient and caregiver, to identify which muscles or movement patterns, if any, the patient can move voluntarily.
The setup time in therapy is very brief, once a muscle or movement pattern has been identified for use as the switch. When adhesive or non-adhesive electrodes need to be replaced either a clinician or a caregiver can replace them. Although the sensors need to be sited on the same muscle when using EMG mode, they do not need to be at precisely the same spot on the skin each time.
INTRODUCING THE PATIENT AND CAREGIVERS TO THE NEURONODE
A representative of Control Bionics works with the clinician – often an SLP – to introduce the NeuroNode to the patient. We understand that each person learning to use a new assistive communication device will have unique needs.
MAINTENANCE OF THE NEURONODE
The NeuroNode requires very little maintenance and can be maintained by either a clinician or a caregiver.
Make sure of the following:
- Both the device and the NeuroNode battery are charged.
- The patient has the included adhesive or non-adhesive electrodes
- The phone number and email address of Control Bionics are nearby, in case you need support. Most problems can be solved in less than 3 minutes.