1998 Conference Proceedings

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LEXABILITY: A STRATEGY FOR USING SPEECH TECHNOLOGY FOR OVERCOMING LITERACY PROBLEMS

Roberta G. Brosnahan
Arkenstone, Inc.
555 Oakmead Parkway
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-4023
Voice: (408) 245-5900
FAX: (408) 328-8484
e:mail: roberta@arkenstone.org 
WWW: http://www.arkenstone.org 

Robert B. Mahaffey
IBM Special Needs Systems
11400 Burnet Rd. 9448
Austin, TX 78758
Voice: (512) 838-4597
FAX: (512) 838-9367
e:mail: bmahaffe@us.ibm.com 
WWW: http://www.ibm.com/sns 

Marshall H. Raskind
The Frostig Center
971 N. Altadena Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Voice: (626) 791-1255
FAX: (626)798-1801
e:mail: sghfrostig@aol.com 

Specific Learning Disabilities associated with reading and writing problems constitute the largest percentage of disabilities; the effects, when coupled with other educational challenges like ESOL, LEP, hearing loss and others constitute a problem for educators and employers.

Input and output speech technologies can play important roles in overcoming some of the effects of reading and writing disorders. This presentation will:

LEXABILITY:

LEXABILITY is not a product, it is a concept that links multiple accessibility products to a technology strategy for addressing literacy struggles. Virtually all personal computer-based accessible products are tools for literacy in that they enable individuals with special needs to interact with information on computers and potentially perform better.

LEXABILITY is a multi-modal, computer-based approach that couples auditory and/or spoken language with textual reading, writing, and generation processes. This approach serves to increase the probability of accurate reception and understanding of information by the individual. LEXABILITY assumes that spoken language (oracy) is the foundation for textual language (literacy). The product offerings falling within the LEXABILITY framework adhere to the theoretical Oracy to Literacy Continuum.

LEXABILITY divides the solutions for overcoming literacy struggles into five phases:

These five literacy stages generally mirror various ages or grades. Typically, emergent practices are used in pre-school or the early stages of education, but may continue all the way through formal education. Content, skills, and discourse exercises usually occur during formal education. Assistive technology, which is often used for enhancement of skills, not remediation, may start before formal school and often continues through adulthood.

A variety of technology solutions are potentially beneficial and applicable to multiple literacy stages. For example, speech recognition technology is a software solution potentially useful within both the discourse and assistive stages of literacy.

RESEARCH RESULTS:

"Speaking to Read: The Effects of Speech Recognition Technology on the Reading Performance of Children with Learning Disabilities"

This research was conducted by Eleanor L. Higgins, Ph.D. Research Associate, and Marshall H. Raskind, Ph.D. Director of Research, at The Frostig Center Pasadena, California.

This presentation will report the results of research investigating the effects of speech recognition technology on the reading performance and processes of children with learning disabilities. Over the last several years, there has been an increased interest in the use of speech recognition technology as a means to compensate for the writing difficulties of individuals with learning disabilities (e.g., Bryant, Rivera, & Warde, 1993; Higgins & Raskind, 1995; Raskind, 1993; and Wetzel, 1993).

While speech recognition technology shows considerable promise in this area, a theoretical base also exists for assuming that it may have a positive affect on reading disabilities as well. In order to test the hypothesis that the reading performance of children with learning disabilities would improve as a result of using speech recognition, subjects were randomly assigned to either a "speech recognition" (experimental) or control group. Pre-, mid-, and post-testing of word recognition, reading comprehension, spelling, phonological processing, orthographic awareness, metacognition, and working memory were administered to all subjects. Differences between experimental and control subjects were analyzed for each of the measures.

Raskind will discuss the findings of these analyses and their implications for the use of speech recognition as a means to improve the reading performance of children with learning disabilities. Handouts will be provided for participants.

USER-DEFINED NEEDS:

In conclusion, even the best technology is not applicable if it does not meet the needs of the intended users. We will present a report on feedback (from both educators and students with reading difficulties) that defined the creation of the user interface for WYNN.

EXAMPLES OF PUBLISHED SOFTWARE THAT FIT IN EACH CATEGORY:

EMERGENT

Earobics - Phonological awareness
Foundations of Speech Perception - Phonological awareness
SpeechViewer III - Phonological awareness
Thinking Out Loud - Spoken language development
Watch Me Read - Spoken language development

CONTENT

Don Johnston KanduSeries - Concept development,br> Don Johnston Simon Series - Concept/Phonological development
Edmark Educational Series - Reading and writing skills
IBM Stories and More - Reading content-non fiction
IBM Talking Walls - Reading content-non fiction
Little Planet Literacy Series - Spoken to written language
Skills Bank / CornerStone - Concept development

SKILLS

Skillsbank 4.0 - Grammar, punctuation, numeracy

DISCOURSE

Don Johnston Co:Writer - Word prediction
Don Johnston Write:Outloud - Talking word processor
IBM ViaVoice Gold - Verbal input dictation
IBM Write Along - Speaking Word Processing

ASSISTIVE

Arkenstone Open Book - Reading Machine
Arkenstone WYNN - Reading/Writing/Studying assistance
Don Johnston Discover:Board - Mobility accessibility
Don Johnston Discover:Kenx - Mobility accessibility
Don Johnston Discover:Screen - Mobility accessibility
Don Johnston Discover:Switch - Mobility accessibility
Henter-Joyce JAWS - Screen Reader
IBM Scroll Mouse - Selective Screen Magnifier
IBM ViaVoice Go - Verbal input dictation
Intellitools Intellikeys - Mobility Access


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