Lucedale man gets new state-of-the-art device to communicate aft - - The News for South Mississippi

Lucedale man gets new state-of-the-art device to communicate after stroke


Imagine suffering a stroke and having to give up the job you love, so you could learn how to speak again. Longtime business man James Powell had to do just that last year. Thanks to some help from therapists and a new communication tool, Powell is able to speak again.

Powell is a Lucedale appliances salesman. He can't stop talking since returning to work. Five months ago, he suffered a stroke and struggled to form words, which made it impossible to work.

"I couldn't say what I wanted to say and it was just terrible," Powell said. 

Powell then turned to therapist Robin Hovermale and her team with George Regional Health System to learn how to speak again.

"It was gibberish, it unintelligible. We started out with the very basic. Just repeating sounds. Sound sequencing," Robin Hovermale said. 

Hovermale also recommended Powell get a state-of-the-art communication device to help his speech.

"This is a DynaVox, and it is basically a computer on wheels," said the therapist.  

Powell said when he has trouble saying certain words the device does the talking for him. It has made his job easier at the appliance store. 

"When I order parts I go to the keyboard and I can type it in parts and there you go," Powell said.

The enhanced communication tool Powell is using also has a range of voice options and it can slow down to sound more like his voice. 

"It has so many different input options. Whatever kind of day he is having he still gets the message across and the output will be the same," Hovermale said about the DynaVox. 

Powell's son said he is impressed by his dad's recovery and this new device. 

"Dad is a real strong person, and I think it is great for people to have that type of technology," James Powell Jr. said. 

Technology, the longtime business man said, he is happy to have by his side as he gets back to business.

"It is great having this machine," Powell said.

According to George Regional Health System officials, Powell is the first in the area to use the new technology. 

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