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E-Inclusion

Allowing people with disabilities in an ageing population to have a share in digital technologies, using the example of visual communication for those with speech impairments.

Strategic Initiatives of the FHNW: E-Inclusion

Background

Speech impairments such as aphasia are on the rise in our ageing society. The new research-based development of a prototype app shows how access to digital media can be of use to people with a speech impairment; it also shows how digital transformation is gaining a foothold in rehabilitation. Digital tools are used for both everyday communication as an alternative to speech and in speech diagnostics and therapy. This gives rise to three focus areas:

  1. The unavailability of a device for objectively measuring speech production that allows tailored evaluation of therapeutic success, with the persons with aphasia themselves serving as a reference.
  2. Existing apps for aphasia testing and speech therapy are not designed for Swiss dialects.
  3. Images, which play a key role in digital therapies and diagnostics for persons with impairments, are often ambiguous and misinterpreted.

Results and impacts achieved

Derived from these focus areas, two studies are being conducted in the «E-Inclusion» research project involving patients and healthy participants; these studies have already helped achieve the following goals.

Measurement device
Latency was integrated into the prototype app as the first objective acoustic evaluation parameter in order to objectify the previously purely subjective auditory assessment of speech therapists and to enable a tailored evaluation of training success and progress. Further parameters are currently being evaluated for future integration.

Dialect
The prototype app is based on a linguistic selection of terms relevant to everyday life. It can be used in a tailored way for the diagnosis and therapy of aphasia. The prototype app has speech recognition for standard German. The long-term aim is for the app to also recognise speech in Swiss-German, which is a significant innovation compared to existing apps. Nouns and verbs that are frequently used were selected using dictionaries and language databases. The terms in Swiss- and standard German differ to varying degrees. Data on the frequency of use of the Swiss-German terms was collected online.

Images
The images used in the prototype app will be based on the results of research. This involves asking people with aphasia and healthy participants to identify and name two different types of images (photographs and digital drawings) and comparing the results. In the run-up to the clinical study, the images developed for the terms were evaluated for their intelligibility in an online study.

Communication and networking
The research work and the progress being made by the research were communicated by means of 13 poster presentations and talks at Swiss and international conferences. A bachelor’s thesis and a project assignment were carried out within the context of the research project. Two articles were published in broad-based media, as were three abstracts for international conferences and one specialist article in a community-relevant journal.

Cooperation with partners from the field – clinics and speech therapy practices – enabled professional exchanges and, going forward, promotes enduring and effective networking between the institutions. Involving people with aphasia in the development of the app promoted a target group-centric approach.

Overall, the research attracted attention to a socially relevant topic.

Participation in the studies

The two studies were extended until May 2021. For these, we are still looking for people with and without aphasia who are interested in participating. Further information may be found here:

People with aphasia: Study 1 and Study 2 flyer for people with aphasia
People without aphasia: Study 1 flyer for people without aphasia

Interdisciplinary collaboration

The research project «E-Inclusion – Participation in digital technologies of people with disabilities in an ageing society, using the example of speech impairments through the reflected use of visual communication» is an interdisciplinary project conducted under the aegis of the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The research project has been designed to be interdisciplinary from the start. This means that the participating schools – the FHNW School of Life Sciences (Institute of Medical Engineering and Medical Informatics), the FHNW Academy of Art and Design (Institute of Visual Communication) and the Institute of Special Education and Psychology at the FHNW School of Education (Chair for Communication Participation and Speech Therapy) – are involved in the development from the very beginning and jointly provide their respective expertises with the aim of contributing to the participation of older people and people with impairments in digital technologies.

Every aspect of the prototype app is of equal value and equally relevant in use. The participating schools take the lead in certain areas according to their know-how: the FHNW School of Life Sciences for speech recognition, the FHNW School of Education for word selection, and the FHNW Academy of Art and Design for image implementation. The core team meets at regular intervals to update itself on all work packages. Project meetings involving smaller interdisciplinary teams take place as required. The aim is to develop and optimise synergies for the development of a research prototype for the target group in order to test the various hypotheses. To help us achieve this, we also involve people affected by aphasia in the development process. Their feedback helps us tailor the word / image material and processes to the target group.

We are grateful to our industry partners, speech therapy practices and departments in clinics and hospitals, and patient-support and professional organisations for arranging contacts with people with aphasia – and, last but not least, we would like to thank all those participating for their contribution.

Project partners

Our valued partners are the speech therapy teams and departments of the following clinics, hospitals and practices in German-speaking Switzerland:

Bild_Praxispartner_Logos15_300dpi.png

We would like to thank all those partners we have worked with in the past for their cooperation and look forward to hearing from further interested partners.

Project team

Project management:
Simone Hemm, FHNW School of Life Sciences
Anja Blechschmidt, FHNW School of Education
Sandra Widmer Beierlein, FHNW School of Education
Claire Reymond, FHNW Academy of Art and Design

Current and former project staff:
Sven Altermatt, Sandra Bucheli, Markus Degen, Claudia Elsener, Noelia Falcón García, Indre Grumbinaite, Morgaine Harvey, Stefan Karlin, Katrin Petra Kuntner, Jingyu Lee, Joelle Loew, Michaela Maintz, Lena Meier, Christine Müller, Sunghae Park, Fabrizio Parrillo, Laurent Poffet, Ricarda Reutimann, Eliane Rickert, Sarah Schiltknecht, Ashesh Shah, Alisa Strub, Karen Trachsel, Manon Winkler, Sandra Wyss.

Publications

Altermatt S., Kuntner K., Rickert E., Wyss S, Degen M., Reymond C., Widmer S., Blechschmidt A., Hemm S. (2020, November). Automatic detection of naming latency from aphasia patients – using an extended threshold-based method. Conf Proc EMBEC Nov 2020, p. 71.

Wyss S., Rickert E., Altermatt S., Kuntner K., Degen M., Reymond C., Widmer S., Blechschmidt A., Hemm S. (2020, November). Patient-friendly speech recognition feedback for aphasia patients. Conf Proc EMBEC Nov 2020, p. 283.

Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019). E-Inclusion – Defining Basic Image Properties for Illustrated Stimuli in Aphasia Treatment. Visible Language, 53(3).

Reymond, C., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019, August). Developing a New Set of 128 Images Illustrating Activities and Objects for Treatment Processes in Aphasia . Perception, 48, 1–236.

Project and thesis assignments by students

Bachmann, N., & Marti, J. (2018). Erstellung und Testen einer Sprachdatenbank. Projektarbeit. Studiengang Life Science Technologies, Hochschule für Life Sciences.

Altermatt, S. (2018). Einsatz der Sprachanalyse zur Evaluierung des Therapieergebnisses bei Patienten mit Sprachstörung. Bachelorarbeit. Studiengang Life Science Technologies, Hochschule für Life Sciences.

Talks and presentations

Widmer Beierlein, S., Kuntner, K.P., Reymond, C., Blechschmidt, A., Degen, M., Shah, A., Müller, C., Falcón García, N., Karlin, S., Parrillo, F., Bucheli, S., Elsener, C., Reutimann, R., Park, S., Loew, J., & Hemm, S. (2020, Februar). E-Inclusion - eine Benenn-App für Menschen mit Aphasie. Beitrag präsentiert an der 21. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks für Evidenzbasierte Medizin, Basel, Schweiz.

Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Reutimann, R. (2019, Dezember). Wie kann der Impact von Bildern, in deren Genese bildpraktische wie auch empirische Methoden einfliessen, in der (neuropsychologischen) Forschung vergrössert werden? Diskussion am Beispiel des Forschungsprojektes E-Inclusion. Beitrag präsentiert am Tag der Forschung der Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW, Basel, Schweiz.

Widmer Beierlein, S., Kuntner, K.P., Falcón García, N., Elsener, C., Bucheli, & S., Blechschmidt, A. (2019, November). Chirsi, Chriesi und Kirsche! Wissenschaftsbasierte Wortauswahl als Basis für eine Aphasie-App - Projekt “E-Inclusion” - Strategische Initiative FHNW 2018-2020. Beitrag präsentiert am Tag der Forschung der Pädagogischen Hochschule FHNW, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019, November). “E-Inclusion – Developing a New Set of 128 Images Illustrating Activities and Objects for Treatment Processes in Aphasia”. Posterpräsentation an der 19. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Aphasieforschung und -behandlung (GAB), Leipzig, Deutschland.

Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019, August). Developing a New Set of 128 Images Illustrating Activities and Objects for Treatment Processes in Aphasia. Posterpräsentation an der 42. European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) in Leuven, Belgien.

Hemm, S., Degen, M., Shah, A., Parillo, F., Karlin, S., Altermatt, S., Blechschmidt, A., Bucheli, S., Kuntner, K.P., Widmer Beierlein, S., Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019, Mai). E-Inclusion - eine Benenn-App für Menschen mit Aphasie. Projekt der Strategischen Initiative der HSL, PH und HGK, 2018–2020. Posterpräsentation am Tag der Lehre der Pädagogischen Hochschule, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Loew, J., & Falcón García, N. (2019, Mai). E-Inclusion - Untersuchung zur Entwicklung einer neuen App für Menschen mit Aphasie. Präsentation bei Fokus Wortauswahl, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Hemm, S. (2019, Mai). “E-Inclusion”. Präsentation am Institut für Medizintechnik und Medizininformatik (IM2), Hochschule für Life Sciences, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Reymond, C.M., Müller, C., & Grumbinaite, I. (2019, März). E-Inclusion - Teilhabe an digitalen Technologien von Menschen mit Behinderung in der alternden Gesellschaft am Beispiel von Sprachstörungen durch den reflektierten Einsatz der visuellen Kommunikation. Präsentation im Rahmen des Masterstudiums Visuelle Kommunikation der HGK FHNW, Basel, Schweiz.

Widmer Beierlein, S. (2019, April). Rüebli/Riebli - Rübchen - Karotte - Möhre. Entwicklung einer Schweizer Benenn-App. Präsentation am Institut Spezielle Pädagogik und Psychologie der Pädagogischen Hochschule, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Loew, J., & Falcón García, N. (2019, Dezember). E-Inclusion - Untersuchung zur Entwicklung einer neuen App für Menschen mit Aphasie. Präsentation bei Fokus Wortauswahl, Muttenz, Schweiz.

Reymond, C.M., & Grumbinaite, I. (2018, September). E-Inclusion - Teilhabe an digitalen Technologien von Menschen mit Behinderung in der alternden Gesellschaft am Beispiel von Sprachstörungen durch den reflektierten Einsatz der visuellen Kommunikation. Beitrag zum Forschungskolloquium des Instituts Visuelle Kommunikation der HGK FHNW, Basel, Schweiz.

Press cuttings

Hemm, S., Reymond, C., & Blechschmidt, A. (2019, Juli). E-Inclusion: Verlorene Wörter mittels App wieder erlernen. FHNW Inside.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Simone Hemm-Ode
Prof. Dr. Simone Hemm-Ode Dozentin für Neurotechnik
Telephone : +41 61 228 56 89 (direct)
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