Photo credit: MNDA Scotland
1. Please tell us a little bit about your mum - things she liked to do/her personality.
My Mum was an incredibly special person. She was so warm, loving, kind and thoughtful with a great sense of fun and humour. She was a real people person and enjoyed her work as a librarian in educational settings, helping and supporting students with their studies.
My Mum enjoyed a full and active life with many hobbies and interests including yoga and tai chi plus she loved trips to the cinema, theatre and music concerts. She loved nothing more than spending time with her family and friends, in particular her two daughters. She was an incredibly special person and we are extremely proud of her and all she achieved in life and thankful for all she has given us.
Even through a devastating terminal illness she remained positive and determined and her personality shone through. She was so brave and truly was an inspiration to us all. Not one to sit about feeling sorry for herself or question "why me?",my Mum chose to continue to live life to the full and maximise the time she had by focusing on what was so important to her - spending time with the people she loved and who loved her and having fun. She passed away peacefully at home with her family on 24th January 2015.
2. If you can share a little bit about why she needed to use Predictable please.
My Mum was diagnosed with Bulbar Onset Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in August 2013 at the age of 60. Her first symptom was a slight slurring of her speech and over the next 17 months she lost the ability to talk and swallow and suffered widespread muscle wastage with physical and respiratory weakness as the disease progressed. She very quickly lost the ability to talk completely and became entirely dependent on alternative methods of communication. Working with her Speech and Language Therapist, my Mum trialled a few communication aid apps on an iPad but instantly upon trying Predictable by Therapy Box she knew this was the app for her - it was also the top recommendation from her Speech and Language Therapist.
3. If you can tell us which features she found most useful please?
My Mum found Predictable to be very user friendly with a lot of useful features to enable speed of use and personalisation such as word prediction which learned her pattern of use and the options to use and also bank phrases in categories such as "food and drink", "out and about" and "help" plus her own "favourite" phrases specific to her situation and requirements. She also liked the "saved history" so she could repeat things in later conversations with different people without having to re-type the message. My Mum liked the control Predictable gave over when the message was spoken - different text to speak apps she tried would speak automatically after each word was typed rather than waiting for the whole phrase to be completed which she found very frustrating. In contrast, with Predictable the user is in control and chooses when to speak the word or phrase, making it much more like a real conversation. Another nice feature are the "emotions", enabling laughter and whistling etc and my Mum really liked being able to use these! We also really liked the effect the use of an exclamation mark has on the expression of a word or phrase.
4. Can you give us examples of when and how your mum used Predictable please?
Due to Motor Neurone Disease , my Mum completely lost the ability to talk so she was dependant on Predictable to be her voice and used it all day, every day for the last 15 months of her life. She said she would have been lost without the ability to communicate using Predictable. Using Predictable allowed her to express her feelings and needs and to initiate and participate in conversation with family, friends and care providers. It also gave her confidence and independence to communicate when out and about in shops, bank, pharmacy etc. Similarly, while she was still able to drive and out on her own, she saved a message in the "help" category that she could play over the phone to the AA should she breakdown, just adding in her location rather than having to type out a long message and so saving time while in that stressful situation at the side of the road - thankfully she never needed to use this but she was prepared if she did. My Mum even used Predictable to talk to the Prime Minister's wife, Samantha Cameron, at a MND Scotland reception at Downing Street to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and its devastating effects.
5. Finally, can you tell other people who might be in a similar situation to your mum, about why they should consider Predictable
I highly recommend Predictable as an outstanding and easy to use aid to anybody experiencing speech and communication difficulties. Predictable is not expensive and is exceptional value for money - the impact this communication aid had on my Mum's quality of life was priceless. She said she would have been lost without the ability to communicate using Predictable. Although not possible for my Mum, the newest version of Predictable allows you to record and use your own voice using Model Talker - an extremely useful and valuable feature for somebody newly diagnosed with MND who has not yet developed difficulties with speech. I really can't praise and recommend Predictable highly enough.