Originally posted by HealthCanal.com, on August 16, 2012.
Difficulty in remembering and using spoken or written words, known as aphasia, can be a painful side effect of stroke. For some patients, that difficulty can last long after their stroke, causing a severe decrease in their quality of life.
With two new NIH awards, a researcher at UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences hopes to learn how augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices can help these patients continue to communicate.
Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Aimee Dietz, PhD, says that for many post-stroke patients, aphasia does not completely erase their ability to communicate.
“Aphasia is a language disorder, meaning patients may have a hard time understanding what they read or hear and have difficulty expressing themselves when write or speak but often still have the ability to express themselves using fragmented speech,” says Dietz.
AAC devices allow patients to augment their speech, ranging from a basic board with printed symbols to high-tech devices that incorporate text and photos into an interactive tool. Patents can then point to or play items on the board to help with communication.
More recently, patients and speech-language pathologists have used mobile technology as AAC devices, either through new communication apps or using tablet devices or phones, to hold text or photos. As part of her research, Dietz is studying when to introduce AAC technology into the rehabilitation process and how best to design the devices for patients.