Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) are defined as speech aids that provide individuals with severe speech impairment the ability to meet their functional speaking needs. Devices that meet the definition of SGDs:
- Are dedicated speech devices, used solely by the individual who has a severe speech impairment.
- May have digitized speech output, using pre-recorded messages, less than or equal to 8 minutes recording time.
- May have digitized speech output, using pre-recorded messages, greater than 8 minutes recording time.
- May have synthesized speech output, which requires message formulation by spelling and device access by physical contact with the device-direct selection techniques.
- May have synthesized speech output, which permits multiple methods of message formulation and multiple methods of device access.
- May be software that allows a laptop computer, desktop computer or personal digital assistant (PDA) to function as a speech generating device.
Examples of devices that would not meet the definition of SGDs include:
- Devices that are not dedicated speech devices, but are devices that are capable of running software for purposes other than for speech generation, e.g., devices that can also run a word processing package, an accounting program, or perform other non-medical function.
- Laptop computers, desktop computers, or PDAs, which may be programmed to perform the same function as a speech generating device, are non-covered since they are not primarily medical in nature and do not meet the definition of durable medical equipment.
- A device that is useful to someone without severe speech impairment is not considered a speech generating device.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are licensed health professionals educated at the graduate level in the study of human communication, its development and its disorders. An SLP holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in speech-language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Digitized speech, sometimes referred to as a device with whole message speech output, utilizes words or phrases that have been recorded by an individual other than the SGD user for playback upon command of the SGD user.
Synthesized speech, unlike the pre-recorded messages of digitized speech, is a technology that translates a user's input into device-generated speech. Users of synthesized speech SGDs are not limited to re-recorded messages but rather can independently create messages as their communication needs dictate.
Personal Digital Assistants are handheld devices that integrate the functions of a small computer with features such as a cell phone, personal organizer, electronic mail or pager. Information may be input via a pen-based system using a stylus and handwriting recognition software, keyboard or downloaded from a personal computer using special cables and software.
Speech generating software programs enable a laptop computer, desktop computer or PDA to function as an SGD. Within this policy, the term SGD also describes these speech generating software programs.
Accessories for speech generating devices include, but are not limited to, access devices that enable selection of letters, words or symbols via direct or indirect selection techniques. Examples of access devices include optical head pointers, joysticks, switches, wheelchair integration devices and SGD scanning devices. In addition, replacement accessories such as batteries, battery chargers and AC adapters are also included as accessories.
Mounting systems are devices necessary to place the SGD device, switches, and other access devices within reach of the patient.
Accessories for SGDs include, but are not limited to access devices that enable selection of letters, words, or symbols via direct or indirect selection techniques. Examples of access devices include, but are not limited to:
- Optical head pointers,
- Wheelchair integration devices,
- SGD scanning devices, and
- Replacement accessories, such as batteries, battery chargers, AC adapters, etc.