Very expensive mistakes (measured in time, money and frustration) can be made trying to find the right AAC configuration quickly that matches the individual's needs to their abilities.  During 2012 we will be publishing a number of recipes that we believe contain reasonably priced ingredients, easy to learn and work efficiently to enable people with MND communicate at a better speed than they can with the equipment in use today.  We divide our recipes into six groups according to the hand and voice abilities of the user.

 Full control of hands and use of voice 
·voice banking + synthetic voice production
With these recipes you can record words and phrases banking your voice so if you should lose the power of speech you will still be able to communicate utilising a voice synthesised from the real recordings that you have saved.

 Full control of hands but no use of voice 
·phrase banking + phrase prediction + text to speech - iPad iPod iPhone apps + touch control
Basically with this recipe you can type in words and phrases so if you should lose the power of speech you will still be able to communicate utilising a realistic synthetic voice with expression.

 Partial control of hands but no use of voice 
·3D mouse + touchpad input - iPad iPod iPhone apps + switch control
These recipes restore full  control of laptop for those with limited fine hand motor control using sensitive touchpads and 3D mice.

 No control of hands and no use of voice  Control of face and mouth 
·face mouse with open mouth to click.
These are our favourite recipes at the moment. Face tracking provides real hope for future communication for sufferers who have no motor control apart from face and head.

 No control of hands but use of voice 
·speech recognition.
Using your voice and a headset you can instruct your laptop to search the web, email or engage in social networking.

·screengrids + wireless remote controls.
Designed for each user to suit their individual ability and personal requirements, screengrids allow you control of your own environment.  These recipes may also include the use of foot mice and other devices to enable communication.

So what's next ?

The aim of simonface is to help people with Motor Neurone Disease quickly find the right assistive technology they need to empower them to communicate when they are losing, or have lost, the use of their voice and hands.

We are currently testing many high-tech, low-cost aids in various combinations and intend to publish our findings in the form of recipes that can be tried at home.

"When I lose my voice entirely, I don't just want to be able to communicate at 5 words per minute.  I want to be able to chat by talking at normal speed and joining in a conversation.  Communication is life and I don't want mine watered down"
simonface plan to publish the first series of fully tested recipes later in 2012.  Simonface recipe 351 below is an example of the format.

This is in an effort to empower people with Motor Neurone Disease to achieve the highest quality of life possible.

Simple starter recipe based on iPad

Suitable for those who are losing or have lost the ablility to speak yet retain some fine motor control of hands

Not suitable for those who have lost, or are rapidly losing, motor control of hands and legs


iPad 16MB WiFi - £399.00
PC (for the initial set up only)
Internet access - (for the initial set up only)


1. Download and install the latest version of iTunes on your PC from
2. Download the Verbally app from iTunes Store for FREE from
3. Connect iPad to your computer using the computer's USB port and the included cable
4.  Follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes to set up iPad and sync your apps only (not pics or music)
5.  Disconnect from PC
6. Tap the Verbally app on the iPad
7.  Speak !
8.  Charge iPad using the included Power Adapter

Experiment with the different keypads (examples pictured right)

You can learn more about one of the ingredients used in this recipe here This is FREE software called Verbally produced by Intuary USA for the iPad. 

We recognise that the iPad will not be the most suitable device for everyone, and therefore not always a long-term ingredient, but it is available today and is simple, quick and (relatively) cheap.

Australian Speech Pathologist Jane Farrall is one of our professional advisors on access options & accessories for iPads and suggests "side dishes" for the recipe. She has also sourced some fine ingredients available for future iPad recipes available Australia/worldwide