This Speech Pathology Week we are taking part in promoting the important work of Speech Pathologists in supporting quality of life for the 1.2 million Australians with a communication disability.

We extend a big thank you to the Speech Pathologists who support people living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) to access the aids and equipment they require for verbal and written communication.

For the 80% of people living with MND who experience speech and communication changes, the Speech Pathologist is an important member of their multidisciplinary team. A multidisciplinary team is a term used to describe the range of health professionals who support someone living with MND in a coordinated way.

People with MND may experience breathlessness, hoarseness, a weak voice or decreased volume. Some people will experience muscle weakness around the face, throat and tongue, which can cause changes to the way a person’s speech sounds (dysarthric), while others may no longer be able to communicate verbally (anarthric).

The Speech Pathologist’s role is to study, diagnose and treat communication disorders. They give advice, undertake assessments, identify, prescribe and set-up communication aids and assistive technology. Speech Pathologists can also support a person with swallowing changes and saliva management.

In the 22-23 financial year, Speech Pathologists sourced around 122 pieces of equipment that support speech from the FlexEquip product library. The combined cost, excluding delivery and maintenance, was approximately $396,000. FlexEquip issued iPads and software, Etran boards, voice amplifiers and Eye Gaze Kits, and we absorbed 100% of the cost with no out-of-pocket expense being passed onto the person living with MND.

We also had a focus on providing education and awareness to health professionals on the importance of Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) and Environmental Control Units (ECU) to support access to verbal and written communication. If you’re a health professional and want to be kept in the loop about our education opportunities, sign up to our Special Interest Group (SIG) and receive a quarterly newsletter with events and sector updates. FlexEquip also offers a newsletter which includes information about new equipment, events and frequently asked questions, contact the FlexEquip team to sign up This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finding a Speech Pathologist

If you are a person living with MND and you think an item below might be something of use to you, please contact us and we can support you to connect with a suitably skilled Speech Pathologist in your area.

You can use this online search tool to find a Certified Practicing Member of Speech Pathology Australia. Practitioners who are members of Speech Pathology Australia are required to meet recency of practice and continuing professional development. This means they are practicing within the highest quality and safety frameworks.

Communication aids available from the MND Info Line – 1800 777 175

The MND Info Line is available to provide information about MND and the services we provide to anyone in the community. Contact the MND Info Line to request a communication chart or awareness card on 1800 777 175 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Communication chart

 Comm Chart

Many people living with MND use a pen and paper, a -white board or communication charts like the example shown. We can provide laminated A4 or A5 size charts and have different configurations to choose from, some with word tiles, some with letters and others with pictures.

Awareness Card

Speech Awareness Card with text, I have Motor Neurone Disease which affects my speech. I can hear and understand you. Your patience is appreciated, thank you. With MND NSW logo

You can request an awareness card to carry with you. The card says, I have Motor Neurone Disease which affects my speech. I can hear and understand you.

Communication aids and equipment available from FlexEquip

FlexEquip is a service of MND NSW, supplying assistive technology to adults with a diagnosis of MND regardless of age. FlexEquip also hire equipment to adults who reside in NSW and the ACT and access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Items are prescribed by a treating health professional and are supplied without cost to people over the age of 65 or funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for people under the age of 65.

FlexEquip have a range of equipment available for hire, the communication aids to support a person’s speech are listed below.

E-tran board

E Tran Board cr 220x220

A non-electronic communication board made from clear Perspex for face-to-face communication. It can be used by a person who has limited speech and motor control. It allows a person to spell out words using eye movement. It is a great low-tech option to have as a backup when electronic communication devices stop working. Find out more about the E-tran board.

Voice Amplifiers

Small black speaker with microphone on headband

A portable communication device that amplifies voice output for people with deteriorating speech or reduced respiratory strength causing a soft voice that can be difficult to hear or breathlessness when talking. Find out more about voice amplifiers.

iPad with communication software

iPad front and back with blue hard case

A high-tech portable touch screen communication device designed for people who need a mobile communication aid with a screen larger than a mobile phone yet smaller than a laptop. The iPad will arrive loaded with your preferred communication app, there are a few to choose from and your Speech Pathologist will support you to choose the right one for you. Find out more about iPads and communication software.

Eye Gaze technology

Eye Gaze computer screen

A high-tech system that uses eye movement to track commands across a computer screen. The user can then spell out the words they would like the system to say or select words and phrases that have been pre-set. The device is used by people who experience changes to their speech and movement to assist with verbal and written communication. A Speech Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist are required to trial and set up this device. Find out more about Eye Gaze equipment.

Find out more

Below is a list of links to additional information:

Speech Pathology Week 20 – 26 August 2023

Communicating for Life


Speech Pathology Week logo with speech buddle and text Communicating for Life


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