Government // Mobile & Wireless
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1/21/2009
03:40 PM
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iPhone App Aids Stutterers

The application includes speech behavior taught during clinical stuttering therapy sessions.

Applications on the iPhone range far and wide, from location GPS to video playing and now a voice-monitoring system application helps stutterers improve their speech.

Announced Wednesday by scientists at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), the system evaluates and scores speech behavior. The immediacy of the system on an iPhone serves as a stuttering therapy tool for improving fluency skills from clinical settings to real-life situations.

"Our clients now have a dynamic, easy-to-use tool that can be used in virtually any setting to evaluate how well they are using newly learned fluency skills," said Ronald L. Webster, HCRI's president and founder, in a statement. "The device provides training feedback and performance data that were previously available only with our clinic-based computers."

Here's how the system works on an iPhone: The voice-monitoring system capable of evaluating and scoring speech behavior is programmed into the handset. The application includes speech behavior taught during clinical stuttering therapy sessions.

"When clients use the device during training in outside situations, such as in a shopping mall, restaurant, or business setting, fluency measurements for each utterance are displayed on the iPhone screen," HCRI stated. With the voice-monitoring system so readily available, stutterers are able to improve their treatment faster.

Outside trials using the iPhone have shown results similar to those in clinical environments, Webster said. He also noted that the iPhone is looked upon by HCRI clients as a practical and fun technology.

HCRI's stuttering therapy helps stutterers learn to replace faulty muscle contractions with new muscle behaviors that help generate fluent speech. HCRI added that stutterers can improve their speech when then learn how to reconstruct muscle actions that drive movements of their tongues, lips, jaws, vocal folds, and breathing mechanisms.

The iPhone application is scheduled to become a regular component of HCRI's stuttering treatment beginning next week.

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