The Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program

During the course of the illness, most people with ALS experience difficulty with speech and movement. The ALS Association Florida Chapter Assistive Technology Program uses technology to increase or improve functional capabilities for our patients.

Assistive technology can enhance the quality of life for people living with ALS by tapping into their abilities, providing new and alternative means to stay active and continue to participate in every day activities.  With all the latest developments made in the field of rehabilitation technology, it is often challenging to know what appropriate technology is available to meet an individual’s needs. 

The Macklers

The Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program provides trained technologists to assist patients with the daunting task of identifying and applying assistive devices. These devices may include: communication technology; telecommunications; computer access; electronic aids to assist with daily living; and assistance with seating and mobility issues. The Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program of The ALS Association Florida Chapter helps provide assistive technology devices such as:

- Remote Door chimes to call for help 
- Environmental control units that offer hands-free access 
- Scanning telephones to promote independent phone use
- Dedicated communication devices that convey messages
- Computers with voice output and ability to access the Internet

Assistive Technology opens the door to the outside world for people with ALS. It helps them regain contact as they knew it, before ALS. A world where communication came as easily as picking up the telephone, or messages could travel around the world by simply pressing a button on your computer.   

CLICK HERE to make a donation to the program. Please indicate "In memory of Dr. Scott Mackler" on the donation form.  

About the Program

The Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program is made possible by the generosity of the Mackler family and friends. Dr. Mackler, a renowned addiction researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with ALS in April 1999 and passed away on November 13, 2013.  

The ALS Association Florida Chapter is implementing an innovative, coordinated approach to assistive technology. Dr. Mackler recognized the importance of assistive technology to improve the quality of life for people living with ALS, and wanted to see the efforts of the Chapter further expanded into a complete program. 

The Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program enables people with ALS to have access to assistive technology devices and services which are often not covered by insurance policies.


For help obtaining a speech-generating device covered by your insurance or to find a qualified Speech and Language Pathologist in your area, contact your Regional Program Manager.

If you are uninsured or cannot access health insurance to cover the cost of a speech generating device, you may apply to borrow a device and other communication equipment by completing the online Alternative and Augmentative Communication Loaner (AAC) Application. The Application should be completed with the help of your health care team. 


The Florida Relay System has special phones and a Speech to Speech relay for Florida Residents with impaired speech.

Always have a low-tech communication board available:  

Alphabet Board - Example 1        Alphabet Board - Example 2

Picture Board - Example 1           Picture Board - Example 2

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