2004 Conference Proceedings

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RERC ON COMMUNICATION ENHANCEMENT

Presenter(s)
Frank DeRuyter, PhD
Duke University Medical Center
DUMC 3887
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919.684-6271
Email: deruy001@mc.duke.edu

Kevin Caves, BSME
Duke University Medical Center
DUMC 3887
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919.684-6271
Email: kevin.caves@duke.edu

Over the past five years, the AAC-RERC established a coordinated program of research, development, training, technology transfer, and dissemination activities that directly addressed the priorities presented by NIDRR and adhered to these underlying principles. We actively included AAC stakeholders in all aspects of the AAC-RERC. We were selective in the projects that were undertaken. We engaged in activities that were important to the AAC field, and not being completed by other entities. We collaborated with commercial entities as early as possible using an effective Technology Transfer Plan that we developed in collaboration with the RERC on Technology Transfer (T2RERC) and Federal Laboratory Consortium partners. We developed an effective Dissemination Plan to reach key stakeholders in consultation with the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR). The highlights of the AAC-RERC's achievements over the past five years have been submitted as a separate presentation.

Recently, NIDRR funded another RERC on Communication Enhancement which was awarded to the same principal investigators. Referred to as the AAC-RERC II, this consortium consists of Duke University, Augmentative Communication Inc; Children's Hospital Boston; Penn State University; State University of New York at Buffalo; Temple University; and University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The AAC-RERC II builds on the work over the past five years by the AAC-RERC. It includes a comprehensive program of research, development, training, and dissemination activities that address the NIDRR priorities and seek to improve technologies for individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies.

The mission of the proposed AAC-RERC II is to assist people who use AAC technologies in achieving their goals across environments. The goals and objectives of the AAC-RERC II are to advance and promote AAC technologies through the outputs and outcomes of our research and development activities; and to support individuals who use, manufacture, and recommend these technologies in ways they value. Six themes form the basis for the AAC-RERC II. The themes are:

The AAC-RERC II builds on collaborative relationships with researchers both in and outside of the field of AAC and assistive technology. Eight research projects are being carried out in the following areas: 1) improving AAC technology to better support societal roles, 2) enhancing AAC access by reducing cognitive/linguistic load; and 3) enhancing AAC usability and performance. Projects address issues of literacy, telework, specialized vocabulary, contextual scenes and intelligent agents, improving interface performance, and monitoring and simulating communication performance. Seven development activities are being carried out in the following areas: 1) technology and policy watch, 2) new interfaces, and 3) reducing the cognitive/linguistic burden on AAC users. Activities address monitoring emerging technologies, standards, and policies; technologies to supplement intelligibility of residual speech, dysarthric speech, and gesture recognition; brain interface; AAC WebCrawling; and enhancing the role of listeners in AAC interactions.

This presentation will outline the specific research and development activities underway with the newly funded AAC-RERC II.


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