PSP Association
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Has anyone had experience of using any electronic communication methods to convert typed text to speech?

This is my first question, but I have been looking at the site from time to time for about 18 months. My brother David who is 67 has PSP (symptoms for 6 years before his diagnosis in 2010) and has tried using a borrowed Lite writer (coverts typed text to speech) but couldn't get on with it as he couldn't really see the keys as they are quite small and he can't look down. His speech has become almost impossible to understand now - it has got worse quite quickly over the past 12 months. We have a laminated sheet with letters, but wondered if anyone had tried some of the new technology? There is an Ipad app you can buy - which is much cheaper than a Lite writer (£100 vs £3,000 ish !!), but don't know whether it is suitable for someone with PSP. Thank you.

5 Replies

hi i hav ean IPADand hthe prologue2 go app which converts text ot speech

provided by the local hospital trsut

it si v good and will be so when i cna no longer speak ro communicate fo mhyself

lol Jill



There are a number of devices around that could be of use to your husband of which the ipad is one. Because PSP affects people in different ways it is really important that you try a device before you obtain one.

My wife, who has PSP, could not use an ipad because she has no downward gaze and her hand/eye co-ordination is very poor as a result of PSP.

I would recommend you talk to the Assistive Technology team responsible for your area and ask for their help. The PSPA helpline should also be able to give you advice etc as in the past there have been articles in PSP Matters on this subject .


My husband has an iPad and I have tried to get him to use the app, I think it's called ispeak but to date he won't use it. I would suggest you try "free samples" first as psp sufferers cannot always use these text to speak programmes. It seems easy enough to us but I am not so sure it is easy for them. Good luck. I will look out for your feedback on your experiences. All feedback is valuable.


Hi, my husband also tried a Lite-Writer but had problems seeing the keys, and his tremor did cause problems too when trying to hold it, and press the keys too. Although one time he did manage to change an "auto sentence" to be something highly amusing - but he had a wicked sense of humour and it did amuse the carers and myself..... :-)

Anyway I made enquiries and yes Assistive Technologies and a company called Possum can help, but if you are going through the NHS Speech and Language departments, they will want you to extinguish all their "cheaper" options, such as the laminated sheets, as that's what they provided my husband with when he was in hospital, so he could just point to the letters and us try to remember the letters or note them down so we knew what he was trying to tell us. The other thing that we also used when he couldn't speak (as at one time he had a tracky fitted, then when it was taken out his voice was very very weak), but his vision was reasonable was an Etch-A-Sketch with the pen thing, useful if they can write big and just a few words at a time. However once the persons vision starts to go to double, or to tunnel vision, this is awful for both the writer and the person trying to read.

My NHS Speech and Langugage department did intimate to me that he could borrow an I-Pad with an App to see if this helped him, as they said they had one they could loan out which was quite good (but that was "good" to those with full capacities who had tried it I hasten to add not a true sufferer), rather than trying to go out and buy one and it not being any use. But unfortunately my husband passed away very suddenly in hospital, so we never got to try one.

Anyway hope you find these comments helpful.

Very best wishes to you.



Thank you for all your answers and best wishes - I will try the Etch-A-Sketch to start. Ironically as a child it was something that was always on my Christmas list but never actualy got one!

My brother's writing is really small and almost illegible, and he has no downward gaze but we will give it a go. I have also seen you can get some special stands in soft plastic to hold/clamp equipment (like an IPAD/lap top etc)

I will also look through the PSP Matters for past articles

As people have said this cruel condition affects people in different ways and what might suit one will be no good for someone else.

I will let you know how we get on.

Thank you again


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