Title

Communication Partners’ Social Acceptance of Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Many people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neuromuscular disease, eventually require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in order to communicate. By digitally archiving a client’s stories, sayings, and messages before ALS affects his/her voice (voice banking), the client will be able to access their own digitized voice through the use of an AAC device or speech-generating device (SGD).

Using the research model from the Richter et al. (2003) study, we used a repeated measures design using three different listening groups (ALS caregivers, people close to the storyteller, and unfamiliar listeners) and three different communication models (natural speech, and forms of synthesized speech). A speaker with ALS dictated 3 personal stories. One story was presented in its natural form (as recorded by the ALS speaker), the second and third stories were converted to computer generated speech using two levels of synthesized speech. The three different stories using the three different forms of communication were presented to listeners in random order. After hearing each of the stories, each listener rated the speaker using a Likert-type questionnaire. From the data, we determined which mode of communication was preferred.

The purpose of the study is to determine whether digitized voice allows people with ALS (PALS) to maintain quality communication compared to synthesized speech. The research suggests that many clients diagnosed with ALS wait until their speech is severely affected before considering the use of alternative communication and the option of recording their voice. We hope this study will provide evidence of the importance of maintaining natural communication throughout the course of the disease. This research is relevant in the field of ALS as most PALS eventually rely on AAC systems to communicate.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 12:00 PM

Communication Partners’ Social Acceptance of Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Many people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neuromuscular disease, eventually require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in order to communicate. By digitally archiving a client’s stories, sayings, and messages before ALS affects his/her voice (voice banking), the client will be able to access their own digitized voice through the use of an AAC device or speech-generating device (SGD).

Using the research model from the Richter et al. (2003) study, we used a repeated measures design using three different listening groups (ALS caregivers, people close to the storyteller, and unfamiliar listeners) and three different communication models (natural speech, and forms of synthesized speech). A speaker with ALS dictated 3 personal stories. One story was presented in its natural form (as recorded by the ALS speaker), the second and third stories were converted to computer generated speech using two levels of synthesized speech. The three different stories using the three different forms of communication were presented to listeners in random order. After hearing each of the stories, each listener rated the speaker using a Likert-type questionnaire. From the data, we determined which mode of communication was preferred.

The purpose of the study is to determine whether digitized voice allows people with ALS (PALS) to maintain quality communication compared to synthesized speech. The research suggests that many clients diagnosed with ALS wait until their speech is severely affected before considering the use of alternative communication and the option of recording their voice. We hope this study will provide evidence of the importance of maintaining natural communication throughout the course of the disease. This research is relevant in the field of ALS as most PALS eventually rely on AAC systems to communicate.