Speech Accessibility Project starts recruitment of U.S. and Puerto Rican stroke survivors

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The Speech Accessibility Project has begun recruiting US and Puerto Rican adults who have had a stroke.

Those interested can Sign up online.

Funded by big tech companies Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign aims to train voice recognition technology to understand people with different speech patterns and disabilities. The project is also recruiting adults with Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

A stroke can cause major changes, including changes in your ability to speak. Our goal is to teach AI to understand the way you speak now, so you can use AI to help you at work or in everyday life activities. About empowering speech accessibility projects; The potential for empowering people post-stroke is huge and wonderful.”

Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, project leader and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois

The project partnered with Lingraphica’s research team to recruit people who have had a stroke. Mentors will connect with those who want to participate, screen their speech and help them understand and agree to participate.

Lingraphica’s senior research director and speech-language pathologist Shawnice Carter said she was thrilled to join the project, calling it “ambitious and necessary.”

“It’s essential for people with communication disabilities to have access to technology in a way that can be tailored to their needs,” Carter said. “The hope is that this will allow people who have had a stroke to access smart devices and smart technology while voice recognition technology will reduce the frustration of not being recognized as speech impaired.”

Such technology does not currently account for people with speech disabilities, he said.

“Creating a database that considers this is a huge contribution to the field of communication science and disorders, and further research of this nature should continue,” he said.

Clarion Mendes, a clinical assistant professor of speech and hearing sciences at Illinois and a speech language pathologist, added that the Speech Accessibility Project can improve the quality of life for family members and loved ones of people who have had a stroke.

“Communication difficulties associated with cerebrovascular accidents, commonly known as strokes, are varied both in their severity and in how they affect individuals and their families. Speech, language and cognitive processes can be affected,” Mendes said. “Involving stroke survivors with aphasia and their caregivers in the Speech Accessibility Project is an exciting new chapter. It has tremendous potential to increase quality of life for stroke survivors and reduce caregiver burden.”

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