For many with ALS/MND, losing their voice is closely connected with loss of self and identity. Intonation conveys meaning and personality. Fortunately, there are ways to record your voice easily so that you can continue to communicate with those you love in your own voice and maintain your sense of individuality. These messages can be transferred into any speech generating device and many apps.
According to Amy Roman, Speech Language Pathologist at Forbes Norris ALS Research and Treatment Center, message banking can be confusing and overwhelming. Together with the developers at Clever Monkey, she created a Message Banking App, a free, online tool that guides people with ALS through every step of the message banking process that includes suggestions that people with ALS, caregivers and speech therapists have found useful and meaningful.
Not everyone with ALS loses their ability to speak. However, Amy recommends message banking for everyone who has ALS. She emphasizes, “The time and effort to bank your messages with the Message Banking app is minimal, but the benefit can be invaluable to you and those who love you.”
Message Banking involves recording common expressions in your own voice. It captures your special cadence and delivery. You can record greetings, laughter, your quintessential sayings, words of affection, a blessing, an expletive, pet praise and more. Everyone diagnosed with ALS should Message Bank as the time commitment is small and the result can be invaluable.
Message Banking, is a free app available at the Windows Store that provides suggested messages, push button recording, and a single press to download all of your labeled, MP3 recordings into a folder on your computer. The MP3 format works on all speech generating devices or Text-To-Speech (TTS) apps that play audio files. The App provides prompts for common phrases such as “How are you doing?” as well as messages that people using alternative communication have found useful such as “I have something to add to what we are talking about.”. Bank your special laughter, words of affection, gratitude and praise, pet commands, sports cheers and other phrases that are unique to you.
In less than an hour a recording can be completed. While it may not be possible to record everything you will ever want say, through the Message Banking App many meaningful phrases can be recorded for posterity.