SPELTRA: A Robotic Assistant for Speech-and-Language Therapy
The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) is an area focused on the rehabilitation of people suffering from different kinds of disorders and disabilities related with language and communication. According to latest estimates of the World Health Organization, most countries do not have appropriate structures to provide healthcare and rehabilitation services for those people. This problem becomes more complex on developing countries, due the lack of professionals and ICT-based tools to support the several activities that must be performed by the Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs). On those grounds, this paper presents a robotic assistant with the aim to help SLPs during the therapy activities. This approach is based on an integrative environment that relies on mobile ICT tools, an expert system, a knowledge layer and standardized vocabularies. This proposal has been tested on 26 children suffering from different kind of disabilities, and the results achieved have shown important improvements in some activities related with SLT like reduction of the time required to prepare patients for therapy, and better response of children to perform tasks.
KeywordsSpeech-language therapy Mobile applications Expert system Robotic assistant
The authors from the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana have been supported by the “Sistemas Inteligentes de Soporte a la Educación CIDII-010213” research project. The authors from the University of Vigo have been supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Xunta de Galicia under project CN 2012/260 “Consolidation of Research Units: AtlantTIC”, and by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Gobierno de España) research project TIN2013-42774-R (partly financed with FEDER funds). We would like to thank the support provided by the following institutions of special education: Unidad Educativa Especial del Azuay (UNEDA), and Fundación “Jesús para los niños”.
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