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Developing Software for Computer-Assisted Speech Therapy

Computer-assisted speech therapy has an important role to play in supporting the speech rehabilitation of clients with speech impairment beyond face-to-face sessions with a clinician. The aims of this project are to identify the requirements for a computer-assisted speech therapy programme, and to work with clinicians and clients in the design and implementation of software that can run on a mobile platform.

Department: School of Systems Engineering, Systems Engineering

Supervised by: Faustina Hwang

The Placement Project

Computer-assisted speech therapy has an important role to play in supporting the speech rehabilitation of clients with speech impairment beyond face-to-face sessions with a clinician. While a range of commercial software products exist, clinical experience suggests that these products are expensive and have their limitations. For example, they do not provide flexibility in choosing the content that forms the focus of speech therapy, nor in tailoring the structure of the therapy to suit individual clients’ needs. This project is a collaboration between Systems Engineering and Clinical Language Sciences. The aims of the project are: (1) to identify the end user requirements (adult clients) for effective computer-assisted speech therapy by collaborating with speech and language therapists and end users with speech impairments recruited from the stroke research panel (Clinical Language Sciences), (2) to design a novel computer-assisted speech therapy programme by involving end users and carers (3) to implement the programme in software that can run on a mobile platform. The mobile aspect will provide flexibility to clients in terms of where and when they can engage in the therapy.

Tasks

- Conduct a literature review of computer-assisted speech therapy – existing products, studies of efficacy, advantages, end user perceptions and challenges - Evaluate an existing computer-assisted speech therapy package with a clinician and clients, in order to identify its strengths and limitations - Design, plan, and conduct a small number of participatory design sessions with clinicians and clients, in order to define the user requirements and develop initial interface prototypes - Develop a prototype version of a software application, based on the participatory-derived designs - Trial the software with clinicians in Clinical Language Sciences and clients for feedback through focus groups. Clients will be recruited from the stroke research panel (Clinical Language Sciences)

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Programming skills and excellent interpersonal skills for working with clinicians and clients who have had a stroke. Knowledge of human-computer interaction methods would be an asset.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

New programming skills (e.g. developing software for mobile platforms), experience with participatory design techniques, working in a interdisciplinary team, communication skills. Potential for a conference publication (e.g. ACM Student Research Competition at ASSETS International Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Clinical Aphasiology Conference). Potential for a peer review publication in a relevant journal (e.g. Aphasiology).

Place of Work

School of Systems Engineering

Hours of Work

Standard office hours, full-time

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 28 June 2010 - Friday 06 August 2010

How to Apply

Please apply by letter + CV to f.hwang@reading.ac.uk


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