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A SPEECH-TO-IMAGE APP FOR COMMUNICATION PARTNERS TO FOSTER MODELING AND TO SUPPORT RECEPTIVE COMMUNICATION

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In the last few years, the use of apps in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) has widely spread. In July 2015, the Apple Store had more than 350 apps labeled for AAC use. Currently the main purpose of the AAC apps is to support and to foster expressive communication among children with different disabilities. However, an important part of AAC is receptive communication. Comprehension skills are critical for AAC acquisition and use. Although it is possible for the communication partners to support receptive communication with almost any AAC app, several limitations arise.  Most apps do not take into consideration the difficulties that communication partners face, such as programming, maintaining, updating and using it for modeling. With these limitations in mind, we used a focus group with six communication partners to better define the features of next generation apps that may support communication partners’ modeling. Based on the focus group results, we designed, developed and are currently testing a prototype for an iPad app to specifically foster modeling. Instead of searching for a symbol, the communication partner can simply say a word in order to see the symbol associated with that word appearing on the screen. If the symbol is not available in our dataset, the app automatically retrieves an image from the Internet. This approach allows the communication partners to minimize the time needed to look for and select a symbol with no need to plan in advance the vocabulary needed for the activity.

Author(s):

Elena Radici    
Centro Benedetta D'Intino and Georgia Regents University
United States

Jennifer Mitchell    
Old Dominion University
United States

Gianluca De Leo    
Georgia Regents University
United States

 

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