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Virtual Therapist for Aphasia Treatment

Title Virtual Therapist for Aphasia Treatment
Publication Type Thesis
Year of Publication 2011
Authors Anna Pompili, Alberto Abad, Isabel Trancoso.
University Department of Computer Science, Systems and Production
Abstract Aphasia is a language disorder that occurs after brain injuries. It can affect speech production, hearing comprehension, reading and writing. This kind of language disorder entails countless social, professional, familiar and financial problems, both from a point of view of the individual and the society. Several studies about aphasia have demonstrated the positive effects of speech therapy activities. In particular, the more intensive and frequent are the therapy sessions, the more positive and quicker is the rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible due to several practical reasons like for instance the impossibility to physically reach the place where therapies are carried out or time constraints. This thesis represents the first milestone in the process of building a sophisticated Virtual Therapist for Aphasia Treatment (VITHEA). The system has been built as a Web Application, thus it is highly portable and allows to carry out the therapy sessions everywhere and at any time. Beside the possibility to design new therapeutic exercises via an intuitive, web based, What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get interface, Vithea provides also the functionality to monitor patient’s performance in terms of frequency of access to the system and therapeutical progress. The virtual therapist has been achieved by integrating a number of technologies. The client side relies on a Flash R component which allows to support a rich multi-media interaction for recording and playing audio. On the other hand, the server side relies on mainstream Web Application Frameworks to ensure extensibility and maintainability and on Automatic Speech Recognition in order to evaluate patient’s training sessions.

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