Short for speech-generating device, an SGD, is an electronic output device that is used to help individuals with severe speech impairments or other issues that result in difficulty in communicating. For example, SGDs can be utilized by those who have Lou Gehrig's disease (such as astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, shown right) to supplement or replace speech or writing for them. Speech-generating devices also find use with children who are suspected of having speech deficiencies.
How do they work?
Although SGDs vary in their design, most consist of several pages of words or symbols on a touch screen that the user may choose. As the individual makes their choices, suggestions are made for the next symbol or word based on what they might want to say. Additionally, the communicator can navigate the various pages manually if the predictive system fails. Most speech-generating can produce electronic voice output by utilizing either speech synthesis or via digital recordings of someone speaking.