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LifeScape staff helps man living with ALS learn communication device

Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - David Eisenhauer is preparing for the day he can’t speak.

“It’s a tough journey,” Brenda Eisenhauer said.

Brenda is David’s wife. She said it can be hard to stay positive through the journey.

“There’s some really overwhelming days. But we’ve got family and support, family and friends that help support us,” she said.

Brenda and David also have the support of LifeScape. David started going to LifeScape in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in July of 2018.

“At first I didn’t know what it was. But then after I found out, it was scary not knowing what could happen,” David said.

He thought the cramping he was experiencing was carpal tunnel, then the diagnosis turned to a pinched nerve, which was really ALS. There’s no cure for the disease, so right now it’s all about staying proactive to preserve David’s freedom.

“Then, I can keep communication open and still have my independence,” he said.

Carrie Vermeer, a speech-language pathologist at LifeScape, has been working with David on the Tobii-Dynavox communication device since last year.

He uses his eyes to look at pictures on the device, which will speak messages for him.

“Things could be misinterpreted if they’re not saying the right thing through yes or no. So it gives them kind of their voice back,” Vermeer said.

David hasn’t lost his voice yet, but he’s preparing for the day.

“To tell them what they want to eat, to say I need repositioned and just to tell somebody that they love them,” she said.

Vermeer worked with David the end of 2020 to record certain phrases he uses to preserve them on the communication device.

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