Researchers Create Virtual Speech Therapist

PHILADELPHIA (July 30, 2013)--Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia are working on a virtual speech therapist to work with patients who’ve lost language skills to a stroke or other head trauma.

The avatar is designed to help people practice their speaking skills after insurance has stopped covering visits to human clinicians.

Experts say the cyber tool is needed because dealing with the speech disorder known as aphasia can be a lifelong challenge.

Some existing virtual therapy involves patients reading scripts, but the Temple team says its approach challenges patients to spontaneously generate speech in conversations with the avatar.

One exercise involves patients pretending to book a vacation with the virtual therapist, who acts as a travel agent.

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