The goal of this project is to develop and test a computer-automated treatment for individuals with aphasia using a virtual clinician. We propose to combine the research findings resulting from a program of work focused on treatment of post-stroke agrammatism, for which there are considerable available efficacy data, i.e., Treatment of Underlying Forms (TUF) (Thompson et al. 2003), with a well-developed and tested interactive computer system that enables face-to-face communication with an intelligent animated agent developed at the Center for Spoken Language Research (CSLR) at the University of Colorado. Although the components for this work are in place, they have never been combined and thus represent innovative research. We propose to develop a """"""""virtual aphasia clinician"""""""" that will be capable of delivering stimuli for aphasia treatment. The automated system will be evaluated for its potential independent use by aphasic individuals to further their progress in language recovery beyond what might be expected to result from the limited clinical contact available under current healthcare policy. If successful, this project will lay the groundwork for a next step - to develop speech recognition software permitting the virtual clinician to evaluate aphasic users' verbal responses. In Phase I of the project we will develop the system using presently available TUF protocols for training syntactically complex sentences. Phase 2 will implement and experimentally assess the effectiveness of the automated TUF-tutor (TUF-T) protocols developed in Phase 1. We propose to compare traditional, clinician-delivered TUF to two TUF-T conditions, one with and one without clinician mediation. The working hypothesis is that TUF-T will be more effective than, or equally effective as, clinician-administered TUF when time and clinician-cost restraints, as well as language improvement are considered. If successful, this work will result in new directions for the management of speech and language disorders that incorporate and take advantage of advances in computer technology.
|Thompson, Cynthia K; Choy, Jungwon Janet; Holland, Audrey et al. (2010) Sentactics®: Computer-Automated Treatment of Underlying Forms. Aphasiology 24:1242-1266|