Strengths and weaknesses of SentenceShaper

It  can take a long time to create messages with SentenceShaper. In fact, “turning off the clock” is one of the program’s great strengths. On the computer, you are not fighting to hold onto words before they decay from memory, and you have the luxury to concentrate on what you are saying and polish it until it is just right.

Therefore, the program is probably best at creating what we’ll call “mini monologues”: multi-sentence messages that can be composed ahead of time. Here are some examples. You want to describe a complicated problem to your doctor or lawyer. You are giving a speech at an important event in your life. You have some words of advice to your granddaughter about her current boyfriend. You want to share  a memory or a joke with your friends and family.

In these situations, SentenceShaper can help you put together a far more precise and lucid series of sentences than you might be able to produce… under the stress of aphasia, you might be reduced to a series of nouns or short phrases that might or might not make sense, and would not do justice to your adult thought processes.

However, SentenceShaper is LESS  likely to be helpful in highly interactive conversations on topics which you can’t anticipate in advance, and it isn’t really needed for short, high-frequency phrases.

To put it more concretely: SentenceShaper can be very useful — perhaps uniquely so among communication aids — if you want to create a wedding toast for your son, or post some tales and pictures from your vacation on your Facebook page. But if you want to order a “venti nonfat wet cappachino” at Starbucks, all you really need is a set of prestored phrases or sentences; you don’t need (and would likely not benefit from) a working memory prosthesis.