Software gives voice to children with speech problem

Researchers claimed to have developed the first technology of its type that can allow children with communication problems to converse better. The researchers named the software as ‘How was school today?’ it helps children with disabilities to converse better & faster. This software is made by the joint efforts by computing scientists from Universities of Aberdeen & Dundee & Capability Scotland.

To hold a conversation for the children with severe motion disabilities & limited or no speech is often very difficult & limited to short one to few word answers. To tell a whole story, such children often needed a communication device to form sentences. But this can be very time consuming & put a lot of strain on holding & controlling the conversation.

Dr Ehud Reiters told that ‘How was school today?’ software uses sensors, swipe cards, & a recording device to gather information on what the child using the system has experienced at school that day. That can then be turned into a story by the computer using what is called natural language generation, which the pupils can then share when they get home.

The system is designed to support a more interactive narration, allowing children to easily talk about their school day & to quickly answer questions. Teachers at Capability Scotland found the software very useful when they used it for a week. It allows children to take control of the conversation without having to rely on help from anybody.

They tried the software ‘How was school today?’ on two children, the results of which were very encouraging. Moreover parents also enjoyed using ‘How was school today? The program enabled children with communication problems to talk easily & answer questions quickly, prompting more interaction & giving a very detailed insight into her day. Plans are in place to examine how it could be used to support children with different levels & types of impairments.


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