Communication Aids

If you have Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and need a communication aid we may be able to help.

Unfortunately some of our services have been affected due to Coronavirus. Please click here for all the updates.

For some people, MND affects their ability to speak, or to speak clearly.  If you need assistance communicating we may be able to help by lending specialist communication aids while you wait for your own equipment from the NHS.

Depending on your abilities there are a number of different devices that can be loaned. Items we may be able to offer include; laptops, desktop computers, iPads with text to speech apps and eye-gaze equipment.

Communication aids benefit anyone who may have lost or is losing their voice. However, it is important to note this does not happen to everyone diagnosed with MND. They can also help someone who is having problems writing or typing.

A communication aid is something that will assist a person to communicate if they have problems speaking, writing or typing.

Another term you may hear is AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). AAC covers a huge range of aided techniques which support or replace spoken communication, from signing to eye-gaze technology. Methods vary and can be personalised to meet each individual’s needs.

We also offer a loan of other types of equipment, from our equipment loan service, for people with MND.

All you have to do is ask your MND Clinical Specialist to put in an application for you.

They will arrange for a qualified Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) or an organisation such as the Scottish Centre for Technology for the Communication Impaired (SCTCI) to come and assess you.

Once you have been assessed, the SLT or SCTCI will make a recommendation for the equipment required and send an application to MND Scotland and to your local health board.

MND Scotland may not be able to lend exactly what is recommended, but we will be able to lend something suitable until the recommended equipment is supplied by your health board.

Health professionals should read our guidance notes on this process.

Note: As of March 2018, it is now a legal obligation for health boards across Scotland to provide a communications device to those who need one. This is a result of MND Scotland's successful Let Me Speak campaign and the subsequent legislation passing in the Scottish Parliament in March 2016.

We can offer a loan of different types of communication aids, such as: 

  • Laptop computers
  • iPads with text to speech apps
  • Alternative control devices such as eye-gaze, Headmouse or SmartNav devices
  • We can also direct you to downloadable text to speech software

Have a look at some more examples of the types of communications equipment we may be able to lend. 

Rather than borrow a laptop or tablet, some people prefer that their own PC or laptop is used. 

We are able to lend equipment such as eye-gaze units, or Headmouse cameras and software for this kind of use.  We are unable to install licensed communications software, such as The Grid or Tobii Communicator 5, on someone’s own device. However, we can refer people to sources of free software which can be used in their place.

Find out more about the communication software we can lend and examples of some free software. 

Communications devices use a synthetic voice. There are options that allow you to use a digital version of your own voice. To do this you may want to consider recording or ‘banking’ your voice for the future. If your speech is already affected it may be possible to recreate your voice digitally. One such service is called SpeakUnique and MND Scotland will provide funding for anyone with MND to use this service.

Get in touch with the SpeakUnique team or you can ask your MND Clinical Specialist about the possibility of recording or recreating your voice.

Our Factsheet on Voice Banking explains more about the other options available, and more advice can be obtained by emailing

If you are having problems with your speech you may want to consider playing around with aids, such as speech Apps, before you really need them, to become familiar with the equipment and software.

We also offer a loan of other types of equipment, from our equipment loan service, for people with MND.

If you would like to find out more about this service please email or call us on 0141 332 3903. 

Have a question? Contact us for more information.

What is MND?

Motor Neurone Disease is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles.

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