Boston Children’s Hospital Leads Augmentative Communication Efforts For Adults With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Boston Children’s Hospital, the leading pediatric hospital in the country, today announced plans to rename its Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Augmentative Communication Program to the Jay S. Fishman ALS-Augmentative Communication Program at Boston Children’s.
Fishman, former Chairman and CEO of Travelers Companies, passed away in 2016 due to complications from ALS. Prior to his death, he was a vocal advocate for ALS individuals and their families and the program is dedicated in his memory. Fishman received expert advice and assistance at Boston Children’s from John Costello, MA, SLP-CCC, director of the ALS Augmentative Communication Program. Fishman and his wife Randy provided a major gift that supports this program.
“BCH has been a leader for decades in providing pediatric augmentative communication care and in recent years has used those innovations, including pioneering work in voice preservation, to meet the needs of adult ALS patients to improve their quality of life. The generosity of the Fishman family has allowed us to become an international leader in the field,” explains Costello, who is the recipient of the 2020 International Alliance of ALS/MND Association Allied Health Professional Award for his work in this area.
There is currently no known cure for ALS. This progressive neurodegenerative disease attacks the body’s voluntary muscles, causing weakness and eventual paralysis of the arms, legs, and muscles essential to speech, swallowing, and breathing. Support from the Fishman family has been essential to enable Boston Children’s to extend its reach to provide a wide breadth of communication support and resources—including important tools for voice—for adults with ALS nationally and internationally.
“This program is an enormous blessing for ALS families, providing a glimmer of light in the midst of all of the darkness that ALS causes,” says Randy Fishman. She points out that the communication and message banking efforts, which help save the sound of a person’s actual voice long after their ability to speak is gone, are among the many resources available for adults with ALS through the Boston Children’s program.
“Our family is most appreciative of the care Jay received at Boston Children’s and we feel strongly that these tools be available and accessible to all who need them. That’s why we remain committed to supporting this vital program,” she adds.
About Boston Children's Hospital
Boston Children's Hospital is ranked the #1 children's hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Home to the worldâs largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Today, 3,000 researchers and scientific staff, including 9 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 23 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 12 Howard Hughes Medical Investigators comprise Boston Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children's is now a 415-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. For more, visit our Discoveries blog and follow us on social media @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebookand YouTube.
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