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Integrating biofeedback games in speech therapy for children who stutter

stutterPhD student: Daniil Umanski
Supervisor: Niels O. Schiller

The goal of this project is to investigate new possibilities of employing interactive technologies in the delivery of treatment for patients with Motor Speech Disorders (MSD). Specifically, the project explores how computer-based tools can refine current methodologies, when one considers the three main phases in the delivery of MSD treatment: (1) the preparation of treatment programs, (2) the practicing of speech motor skills, (3) the autonomous management of communication outside the clinic. In addressing each of these steps, a concrete technological solution to an identified problem is proposed, developed and evaluated.

Advancements in clinical linguistics are applied, together with natural language processing, to the development of a new computer-based tool for allowing clinicians to generate customized treatment materials for their patients. Principles of rhythm video games are combined with real-time acoustic analysis, in order to examine the possibilities of using a computer game to support the training of speech timing skills of children with MSD. Speech signal processing is used to provide an adaptive activation of auditory feedback, in an effort to refine current methods for enhancing the speech fluency of individuals who stutter. Finally, a course is developed to teach the principles of technological innovation to students of speech language therapy, in order to promote a durable process of innovation in the field.

This research project is funded through a Mozaiek grant from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).