Stroke Connection - Spring 2013 - (Page 18)
E V E RY DAY S U R V I VA L | Connecting You to Helpful Ideas
Technology expands communication opportunities
for people with aphasia By Mimi Block and Liz Mercado
Technology is constantly changing our world. It happens
quickly, and it can be confusing if you don’t keep up. If this
article – which is about hardware and software technologies –
uses terminology you’re unfamiliar with, visit Techterms.com
for easy-to-understand definitions.
How Technology Helps
New technologies, such as smartphones and tablet
computers, can help people with aphasia better integrate into
society by assisting with conversational communication.
At the University of Michigan Aphasia Program
(UMAP), we use the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with
great success. Their usefulness is enhanced with different
applications (apps) and computer programs. Many devices
and applications offer exciting and effective options for
people with aphasia.
Helpful Hardware Devices
A significant advance in hardware technology is the
touchscreen. A touchscreen allows you to work with your
device just by touching it with your fingers; there’s no
need for a mouse or trackpad. For some, this makes the
process of navigating around their device much more
intuitive and simple.
Smartphones combine phone, music,
camera, email, Internet browsing, calendar,
books and GPS in a compact, multi-purpose
device. Because they use touch screens, these
devices are most effective for survivors who
have good visual and fine-motor skills, intact
comprehension skills and strong cognition.
Web-enabled Media players such as the iPod
touch allow users to store music, Google maps,
birthdates, names, as well as job descriptions
and titles that can be retrieved
18 S T RO K E C O N N E C T I O N SPRING 2013
for social conversations. It also has a camera and allows
texting. Basically, it is a smartphone without a phone. The
benefit is there’s no monthly charge.
Examples such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and
Kindle Fire can perform many of the same non-telephone
functions as smartphones or the iPod touch with the
advantage of a larger display. This can be especially
helpful if you use the device to read e-books or look up
words in an online dictionary.
There are many different types of apps that have been
developed specifically to help support people with various
types of communication challenges.
TEXT-TO-SPEECH: Beneficial for nonverbal survivors or
those who need models of words, phrases or sentences.
You type in a message and the applications will say them.
Examples: Verbally, Speak to Me, Voice Reader Text,
Speak for Me
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