Using Virtual Clinicians to Promote Functional Communication Skills in Aphasia

Kalinyak-Fliszar, Michelene and Martin, Nadine and Keshner, Emily and Rudnicky, Alex and Shi, Justin and Teodoro, Gregory (2014) Using Virtual Clinicians to Promote Functional Communication Skills in Aphasia. [Clinical Aphasiology Paper]

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Abstract

Persons with aphasia (PWA) re-enter their community after their rehabilitation program is ended. Thus it is incumbent on rehabilitation specialists to incorporate training in using residual language skills for functional communication [1]. Evidence indicates that language abilities improve with continued treatment, even during chronic stages of aphasia (refs) For optimal generalization, PWA need to practice language in everyday living situations. Virtual reality technology is a method of providing home-based therapeutic interventions. A valuable potential of virtual reality technology is that it supports the successful generalization of residual language skills to functional communication situations. Traditionally, role-playing [2] and script training [3] have been used to improve functional communication in PWA. A more recent approach has been the adaptation of scripts through the implementation of virtual technology. [4]. We report progress on a project that aims to develop a virtual clinician that is capable of recognizing a variety of potential responses in the context of functional communication scenarios. Our goal is to develop a virtual clinician-human interaction system that can be used independently by PWA to practice and improve communication skills. This involves development of software that will support a spoken dialog system (SDS) that can interact autonomously with an individual and can be configured to personalize treatment [5]. As use of virtual technology in aphasia rehabilitation increases, questions about the physical and psychosocial factors that influence successful use of residual communication skills need to be resolved. Thus, a second aim of this project, the topic of this paper, is to determine whether interactive dialogues between a client and virtual clinician differ in the quantity and quality of the client’s language output compared to dialogues between client and human clinician. Although the potential of using virtual clinicians is promising, it must be determined if individuals with aphasia (or other language disorder) will be responsive to the virtual clinician and produce as much language in this context as they would during dialogues with human clinicians. We addressed two hypotheses in this study: 1. For PWA, practice with dialogues that focus on everyday activities will improve quality and quantity of verbal output in those dialogues. 2. For PWA, verbal output practiced in dialogues with a virtual clinician and a human clinician will yield similar amounts of verbal output as measured by information units in the dialogues.

Item Type: Clinical Aphasiology Paper
Depositing User: Leo Johnson
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 12:54
Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference > Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2014 : 44th : St. Simons Island, GA : May 27-June 1, 2014
URI: http://eprints-prod-05.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2582

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