Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Wendy Quach


AAC, ALS, E-tran, eye movement, low-tech

Subject Areas

Speech therapy


Low-tech, eye-gaze-accessible augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) options are important for individuals with motor impairments which result in limited voluntary movement, including many diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Available devices include EyeLink, partner-assisted scanning (PAS), and E-tran. The purpose of this study was to examine the rates of use for these devices, the user preferences related to them, and changes in rates and preferences over time. In another ongoing study component, Roman, Quach, Coggiola, and Moore (2010) investigated these devices with pairs of participants that included persons with ALS (PALS) and their communication partners. In this component, seven pairs of typical adults aged 45 or older participated. Over the course of five sessions with each pair, participants were taught to use and practiced use of these three devices. The quickest communication was accomplished through the use of EyeLink, but its rate of use did not differ significantly from that of E-tran. Use of PAS resulted in the slowest communication throughout the sessions. E-tran was the device most preferred by participants overall, and PAS was the least preferred. Through comparison of these results to those of the other study component, which included PALS as participants, the researchers hope to increase the generalizability of the study results and to better understand the ways a diagnosis of ALS may influence results.