ALS Awareness Month
Updated: Jun 7
June is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) awareness month in Canada with June 2nd being the second annual Lou Gehrig Day. ALS is a progressive, and incurable disease, resulting from the gradual destruction of motor neurons.
Many persons suffering from this debilitating disease are eventually unable to move, speak or swallow. The most common age of onset is 55, but symptoms can begin to develop in persons aged 40. Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player who passed away from ALS at age 38.
One of the most frustrating aspects of ALS that persons experience is difficulty communicating their needs.
Here are a few tips to try when communicating with persons suffering from ALS with impaired speaking abilities:
1. Give the speaker your full attention. Focus your eyes and observe for non-verbal cues
2. Sit close to the speaker so you yourself can hear them clearly
3. Reduce background noise
4. If something the speaker said requires clarification, ask the person to repeat it or spell it out.
5. Repeat what the speaker said back to them to ensure you understood correctly
6. If speaking is becoming too difficult, it might be time to try one of several technologies available, including a tablet, whiteboard or alphabet board/books (Source: ALS Society of Canada).
To learn more about ALS please visit the ALS Society of Canada website at https://als.ca/