How do you speak if you can't find the words? Being able to communicate effectively and reliably is a cornerstone of today's society, but not everyone is able to do so alone.
This project is on-going, and looks to design a mobile application that will support users with aphasia in communicating. It is being conducted in tandem with an RN, and two lingustics graduates, who are acting as consultants.
Aphasia severely impacts people directly and indirectly. Most people are unprepared to be caregivers, and face burnout as they support their loved ones.
Anyone can acquire aphasia at any time. It is often the result of injury.
Because not all aphasia cases are the same, a diagnostic on-boarding practice lets the app knows which interface to present a user. Based on the Mississippi Aphasia Screening Test (MAST), Cate will adapt to meet a user where their personal aphasia level is at, or to indicate that Cate may not be the correct support application to use.
This will also provide a quantitative dataset by which to assess user improvement in speech reacquisition, and to adapt the interface as their speech progresses over time.
Cate works on 3 basic principles.
1. Users will be able to use Cate to communicate. This supports non-fluent aphasia, and incorporates many industry standard practices, including pairing imagery with words, and speech board methodology. The general idea is to support production of sentences and ideas, by providing common words/phrases, and organizing them intelligently for the user. This often also incorporates text-to-speech;
2. Users will be able to practice and improve their speech with Cate. Many speech therapy exercises are based on repetition and practice of phoneme and morpheme retention. This information and instruction can be converted to digital forms, so users can access these kinds of resources and exercises at home;
3. Users will be able to connect with others through Cate. Many aphasia applications offer messaging and video integrations to promote community and support. This could also extend to care providers, especially in COVID times, as well as emergency services.
This mobile application is currently undergoing revisions following the first round of user testing; updated content will be included once this testing period is completed.
This project is still in development, but updates will be posted periodically, as they occur.