MJD Foundation

iPad Communication Project


Individuals with Machado Joseph Disease experience significant speech loss throughout the progression of the disease (dysarthric to anarthric over the course of the disease).  This greatly reduces their ability to communicate verbally, which in turn has a large impact on social and emotional wellbeing.

Whilst Adaptive and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices have been trialled by the NT Dept of Health, therapists have struggled with having adequate time to spend with a client to effectively trial these devices and determine the most appropriate device on the market for MJD clients.

CWAThanks to the Country Women's Association of Groote Eylandt who support the Groote Eylandt component of this project. 

Jane and Joyce

In 2009, the MJD Foundation funded the first phase of a study into speech and swallowing with the University of Queensland (UQ).

The Techscan was the first device trialled, but with the Apple iPad coming to market, the MJD Foundation made the decision in 2010 to trial these. 

In late 2010, the disability communication softare Proloquo2Go was released for the iPad platform, and Professor Deb Theodoros (UQ) evaluated the software and suggested it be trialed with MJD clients.

In late 2010, the MJDF also hired a new part time staff member to exclusively work with clients on iPads.


The objectives of this project are two fold:

1. To proritise our existing MJD client base and rollout the iPad to have an immediate positive impact on communication, and therefore social and emotional wellbeing of our clients.

2. To gather and document our approach and measurable outcomes so that (if the project is successful) we can advocate the standard use of iPads for MJD and have government and other service providers adopt this technology as standard.



My Story

Updates: September 2011

Gabriella presented "My Story" using her iPad at the Chronic Disease Network conference in September 2011 in Darwin.

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