From the Journals: Robot-Delivered Speech and Physical Therapy a Success In one of the earliest experiments using a humanoid robot to deliver speech and physical therapy to a stroke patient, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst saw notable speech and physical therapy gains and significant improvement in quality of life, according to a study in the March 2013 issue ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   June 01, 2013
From the Journals: Robot-Delivered Speech and Physical Therapy a Success
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Speech, Voice & Prosody / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   June 01, 2013
From the Journals: Robot-Delivered Speech and Physical Therapy a Success
The ASHA Leader, June 2013, Vol. 18, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18062013.37
The ASHA Leader, June 2013, Vol. 18, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18062013.37
In one of the earliest experiments using a humanoid robot to deliver speech and physical therapy to a stroke patient, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst saw notable speech and physical therapy gains and significant improvement in quality of life, according to a study in the March 2013 issue of Aphasiology.
Researchers aimed to assess how interventions in one domain (speech treatment) affected interventions in another (physical therapy) in two different delivery scenarios. Despite the importance of working with other professionals, the authors point out, until now it has been "largely unknown how interventions by one type of therapy affect progress in others."
One client—with aphasia and hemiparesis—completed a robot-mediated program of only speech-language treatment for five weeks, followed by only physical therapy for five weeks in the sole condition. For the sequential condition, the client attended back-to-back speech treatment and physical therapy sessions for five weeks.
Over the course of the experiment, the client made "notable gains in the frequency and range of the upper-limb movements," the authors say. He also made positive gains in verbal expression. Interestingly, his improvements in speech and physical function were much greater when he engaged in only one therapy than when the two therapies were paired in sessions immediately following each other. The authors theorize that in such a sequential schedule "speech and physical functions seemed to compete for limited resources" in the brain.
Although some may object to robots delivering therapy, the authors point out the need is great and not being met now, especially in rural areas. They hope to augment human-to-human interaction, so a robot could take a clinician's place temporarily.
 
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June 2013
Volume 18, Issue 6