The program was developed for non-fluent aphasia, but the rich support it provides for speech production may be helpful with conditions such as children’s language disorders, fluent aphasia, and apraxia. And the integration of text may allow it to play a role in reading programs.
People who are most likely to benefit from SentenceShaper:
- Individuals with fragmented, non-fluent speech are frequently able to record short sound clips and piece them together into much longer and more grammatical structures. Their productions on the system can also be much more fluent than their unaided speech, since they can remove all the hesitations, false starts, and errors created along the way.
- People with word-finding problems may create better speech with the program by using the built-in word-finding support, and also by playing back words or phrases they have already recorded, which can stimulate new words.
- People who make errors of word choice (or even those who produce paragrammatic speech) notice their errors more easily when they play them back; they can then fix the errors by recording new sound clips.
- People who have trouble speaking intelligibly (due to apraxia, etc.) may be able to produce much clearer speech on the system, since they can revise and evaluate their speech. They may also benefit from recording their utterances in small chunks…a long word can even be broken up into several smaller chunks. Also, the program allows them (or a helper) to add text “subtitles” to their recordings, to help others understand their speech.
- The program has also been used to improve reading skills. Users can record a spoken utterance, then transcribe it.
Abilities that are NOT required for effective use of the program:
- Computer skills: While experience with a computer is useful, it is not necessary. The iOS version runs on the iPad’s user-friendly, familiar, touch screen interface. The Windows version may require a mouse, but the program requires only single-clicking and dragging. People with hemiplegia have operated the mouse with their non-dominant hand in several of the research studies.
- Reading and writing: Most areas of the program do not require text skills. The Vocabulary Cue Buttons display text words, but clicking these words causes them to be played aloud. And while the Caption Box allows displays text, both Windows and iOS allow the user to enable text-to-speech playback from the settings menu.
Abilities that are probobly required for effective use of the program:
- Relatively good single word comprehension
- Ability to detect errors when listening to speech (this is easier than noticing errors in one’s own speech while talking)
- Absence of severe impairment to executive function
Note: Most studies to date have emphasized largely independent use, so if the individual has a helper, these requirements may not be as important.