Aie. Best of luck to you and your family.

Agreed 100% on that score. One of my research areas is on augmentative and alternative communication technologies, and we work with a lot of ALS patients and their families. ALS is a monster of a disease.

If you’re not already, now would be a good time to start working with a speech and language therapist who specializes in AAC and ALS. It might not be too late to start voice banking samples of your father-in-law’s speech, and it’s certainly never too late to start working on a communication plan for if/when he can no longer reliably produce language on his own. This may involve experimenting with different devices and AAC systems to find one that fits your father-in-law’s needs and capabilities, and will also involve some training and practice for you and the other caregivers and family members. A good AAC expert will also be able to help your father-in-law explore and learn how to use different ways of interacting with tablets and computers as his level of muscle control changes over time.

I am in no way, shape, or form a clinical expert, but I do work with many of them, and the difference that they can make in the quality of life for an individual with ALS is remarkable. That goes double for the QoL of the individual’s family, by the way — having reliable communication with your father-in-law will make a big difference in the months and years ahead.

I wish you and your family the best of luck, from one Internet stranger to another.

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