Moti Ayish had a sudden heart attack and a stroke which resulted in almost complete paralysis. From being a beloved member of a family, he became a “vegetable”. He was breathing but couldn’t move or speak. The doctors recommended putting him into a skilled care nursing facility where he would be ‘taken care of’.
He lived there for one and a half years. The family visited often but they talked around Moti instead of to him. All he was able to do was make a slight grunt here and there. The Moti they had known was gone.
Then a family member wanted to find out if the Moti they had always known was still there. They called on Yonit Hagoel-Karnieli, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Speech Generating Devices Lending Center.
Yonit visited Moti Ayish armed with a large board with pictures of his daughter and son.
‘Look at your daughter,’ she asked him. His eyes slowly turned. ‘Look at your son.’ His eyes moved again.
She asked him a question and told him that if the answer is ‘no’ to close his eyes and if the answer is ‘yes’ to open his eyes and blink. He did. More questions. More answers. The real Moti was still there!
Yonit gave the family exercises to do and brought them some devices to use from Ezer Mizion’s Lending Center that will enable communication using eye movement alone. After six months, Moti was in a rehab center and taking part in conversations using a device called Click2Speak. The family laughed aloud when he told his wife to withdraw 2000 shekels from the bank to buy “Meat. Vegetables. Also a dress.”
When a grandson was being annoying, he clicked with his eye movement, “Stop annoying your mother.”
“How are you?” asked his visitor one day.
“Sad. I wish I could leave this place,” was the reply.
Ezer Mizion arranged for him to be visited by his favorite singer, Yaakov Cohen. When Cohen walked into his room, Ayish responded by eye movement, “I was at three of your performances. You are the greatest! I love you!” Yaakov kissed Moti emotionally and told him, “Thanks for inviting me. I love you, too!”
Simcha, Moti’s wife said, “I haven’t seen him so happy since the stroke.”
Ezer Mizion has been developing the Click2speak on-screen eye-tracking virtual keyboard that will enable people with high cognitive function and limited mobility to communicate and control their environment.