Products with Essence

About Essence

With Essence, individuals can "speak" their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs simply by pressing the keys on a standard keyboard. Being able to communicate can enable individuals to continue to work longer, more fully engage with others, and remain actively involved in personal and health care decisions.

Simple to operate, Essence requires little or no training and there's no new language system to learn. When deteriorating motor abilities make typing difficult, Essence can be accessed using electronic switches, head-pointing systems, or one of PRC's state-of-the-art eye-tracking systems: ECOpoint™ (Essence PRO) or NuEye™ (Accent 1200 and Accent 1000).

When you recommend Essence to your patients, clients, and friends, you can be confident you are recommending a superior communication solution that will enhance their quality of life.

Additional features available in Essence include:

  • Pre-stored vocabulary and word prediction software for fast communication
  • Abbreviated expansion capability that saves key strokes by converting typed abbreviations into full words and phrases
  • An alarm function for soliciting help when needed
  • "Remind Me" appointment tool
  • Infrared control capabilities
  • Additional useful tools, such as simple note-taking facilities, an MP3 player, and visual scene capability

Who Should Use Essence?

More than 2 million people in the United States have a severe communication disorder that impairs their ability to speak and negatively impacts their quality of life. The disorder may be short- or long-term, congenital (present at birth), acquired (occurring later in life), or degenerative (worsening throughout life).

These impairments may be physical, cognitive,
or a combination of both, and include:

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Other degenerative diseases
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • CVA (Stroke)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to any strategy, technique or tool that enhances, replaces, augments, or supplements an individual's communication capabilities.

Essence is an AAC language program that is specifically designed for literate individuals who want a speech-generating device based primarily on spelling. It is easy to use, easy to learn, and leverages current skills and knowledge. In addition to spelling, Essence also offers word prediction, abbreviation expansion, and pre-stored words, phrases, and sentences for quick access. Additional features include e-mail capability, operating IR devices, browsing the web, and listening to music. With excellent quality speech output and a variety of voices, communication is easily understood by both the client and the caregiver.

With Essence, an individual can continue to participate in critical activities such as medical, legal and financial decisions. Essence also supports interpersonal communication and family participation, helping to maintain or restore quality of life.

Getting Started

Clinical Support

The Essence Initial Set Up and Training Questionnaire is a three-page worksheet designed to assist a soon-to-be Essence user in preparing to customize their new device to meet their communication and computer access needs.

Initial Set up and Training Questionnaire

Do I need a clinician to assist me with Essence?

The guidance of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is critical in assessing the status of communication and the need for AAC. Assistance may be available in conjunction with an evaluation team such as those knowledgeable in ALS or MD. If team services are not available, contacting a local SLP with expertise in augmentative communication is appropriate. The SLP can work with the individual and family to help identify which AAC device will best address the individual’s needs and determine the most useful techniques. The SLP also can help to address changes in communication that occur over time.

How do I find a local clinician?

To find a local speech-language pathologist, (SLP), speak with your physician or home health care provider. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) also maintains a directory of certified SLPs at


Where can I get training for Essence?

Self Study for Accent with Essence

Essence Pro Tutorials

Technical Support

Who do I contact for technical support on Essence?

Call PRC Technical Service at (800) 262-1990;  Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST.

Can I bank or record my voice in Essence?

I have a question about my Accent with Essence. Are there any resources available online?

Visit and view articles in the Knowledge Base for answers to the most common questions. Device and Accessory manuals and the PASS Demo software are also available in the support portal.

Additional Resources

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig disease)

Parkinson's Disease

Augmentative Communication for Persons with Aphasia

Resources for Professionals Working With Adults With Degenerative Disorders

Book Chapters Dealing With AAC Interventions for Persons with ALS

  • Beukelman, D. & Mirenda, P. (1998).Augmentative and alternative communication:Management of severe communication disorders in children and adults (Second Edition).Baltimore:
  • Fried-Oken, M. & Bersani, H.Speaking up and spelling out: Personal essays on augmentative and alternative communication. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
  • Yorkston, K., Miller, R., & Strand, E. (1995).Management of speech and swallowing disorders in degenerative disease. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

PRC is providing these resources solely for the research, education and convenience of our clients. PRC does not necessarily subscribeany site's content in its entirety or recommend the featured products or services.


Who should use Essence?

Essence was developed for adults with degenerative disorders. It may also be appropriate for an adult who is literate and wants speech output in a familiar format that minimizes the demand for learning.

What is unique about Essence?

Essence was developed based on information provided by professionals who have extensive experience working in augmentative communication with adults who have degenerative disorders. This information was used to design a language program that meets the specific needs of this population and is easy to learn and simple to use.

What does Essence do besides spell?

Essence has many special features to accommodate individual preferences. These features include:

  • A range of keyboard configurations
  • Several access methods
  • A variety of voices

Essence also has special features that reduce the number of required keystrokes, making communication faster and easier.

  • Word prediction
  • Abbreviation expansion

Other special features include an alarm, a reminder function, notebooks, a photo album and remote controls.

Where can I learn more about Essence?

  • Contact your regional consultant or PRC representative.
  • Call PRC at (800) 262-1984 or e-mail to request a brochure.

Where do I get help with funding to purchase a product?

Staffed by dedicated, full-time professionals, our funding staff is knowledgeable and always current on state requirements for Medicaid and Medicare. We can submit your request to purchase PRC equipment for Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance.

For more information please visit our funding page