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AAC Device for Counter Attendant

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Idiopathic Torsion Dystonia, with related swallowing and speech impairments, did not prevent "Joan" from working full-time gardening and cleaning at two group homes. However, Joan wanted to increase her employment options and needed equipment or assistive technology (AT) to enable her to communicate effectively. She had unintelligible speech due to the dystonia, expressive aphasia and dysarthria. Joan's vocational case manager with the Department of Rehabilitative Services in Virginia, Faye Cline, referred her to Linda Meyer, SLP and Rebecca Messer, Clinical Social Worker, at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) for an AAC evaluation.


The WWRC team recommended the DynaMyte device, due to its portability, easily accessible multiple icon-based levels, and the ability to formulate novel utterances using the keyboard. The dynamic leveling system allows Joan to quickly change overlays, communicate pre-programmed messages, and access spelling, word prediction, and letter encoding. Joan was hired by Krispy Kreme Donuts as a counter attendant, and a thematically based "work" page was created in order for her to communicate with her customers using messages such as "Will that be for here or to go?" and "What would you like to drink with that?" Phrases such as "Do you want me to make more coffee?" and "What would you like me to do?" help her communicate with her co-workers. Joan is also able to use the text-to-speech option with word prediction independently when she wants to create novel utterances or clarify messages.

Joan is able to use the device successfully in a variety of settings and over the phone. Follow up revealed difficulty at work due to the weight and pull of the DynaMyte on her shoulder. The device also restricted her arm movements and bumped around on her body. A custom-made adjustable pouch was designed by an WWRC Rehabilitation Engineering Technician, Charles Bird, which holds the AAC device and thereby eliminates these problems.

Accommodation List / Sources

1.The DynaMyte by Dynavox Systems was purchased for $5995. Information on this device can be found at

2.The custom pouch required two hours to fabricate and $10 for material, for a total cost of $100.

3.In addition to the initial set up and training, two additional speech-language pathology sessions were held to teach Joan how to independently program messages and pages.


This case study was originally documented by Tech Connections, a NIDRR-funded collaboration between United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCP), the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at Georgia Tech (CATEA), and the Southeast Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (SE DBTAC).