Speech and Language Therapy in Media

Date: 15th July 2014

Posted on: 15-07-2014

There are many people with speech disorders who use speech devices, which offer limited selection of voice options. Northeastern University Professor of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Rupal Patel wanted to do something about this, and in her fantastic talk at the TEDWomen conference in San Francisco she shares her work to engineer unique voices.  “We wouldn’t dream of fitting a little girl with the limb of a grown man — so, why then, a prosthetic voice?” asked Rupal Patel.  She created the VocaliD project to change that. Rupal has developed a method for creating voices in which she combines a patient’s voice with the voice of a donor who have similar age and gender. The result is a synthesized voice similar to what a person might sound like if he or she weren’t limited by speech disorders. 


An article: Language learning: what motivates us? on The Guardian shows the science behind language learning. For more than 50 years, two terms have categorised motivation in language learning: integrative and instrumental. ‘Integrative motivation is the motivation to learn a language in order to get to know, to be with, to interact with and perhaps become like the speakers of the target language. Instrumental motivation is language learning for more pragmatic or practical purposes’, says linguistics professor John Schumann.  In most cases of language learning motivation, we have a mixture of integrative and instrumental influences.


Last week on BBC website could see an article: Children urged to read to dogs, perfect listeners. The Bark and Read Programme, run by the Kennel Club, says overcoming fear and fostering a love of reading can be a first step to improving literacy. Dogs can play a key role in this, it argues, as they are non-judgemental, attentive and perfect listeners. Tony Nevett, who founded the programme, says: “This works really well with kids. The dog doesn’t judge or criticise and so it helps to build self-esteem as well.


On The Guardian you could also read about specialist centre uses medication alternatives such as sensory gardens to help patients reconnect with their pre-dementia lives.  Four Seasons Health Care operates the Positively Enriching and Enhancing Residents Lives (Pearl) programme to address the needs of people living with dementia. The ethos of the programme is to look beyond dementia as a diagnosis, appreciate the person as an individual and help them to live their lives as closely as possible to the way they always have. Pearl’s approaches have a sensory aspect as smells, sounds and touch are frequently associated with fond memories. Rummage boxes, sensory gardens and music sessions are prominent examples of tools used in our programme to help residents recall thoughts and experiences of their lives prior to developing dementia.


The views expressed in the blog do not necessarily represent the views of ASLTIP. Publication does not imply endorsement.




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