Use of software and computer technology in aphasia rehabilitation; investigating issues of efficacy, usability and cost effectiveness

Technology can provide an answer for over-stretched health care provision but will service users, particular older adults, actively engage with it? This research will investigate the benefits of a computer programme on language comprehension abilities (i.e. ability to understand spoken sentences) and explore the user experience of self-administered rehabilitation software.  People with aphasia (an acquired language disability after stroke) face challenges when participating in conversations by virtue of their language difficulties. This can result in reduced social participation and isolation, and their voices are overlooked in service planning and research.  This study will employ eye tracking technology, a technique widely used in usability engineering and emerging within health research. Eye tracking will provide an understanding of what the person is looking at when interacting with the computer screen. In addition, individuals perspectives will be explored with a user feedback tool. This tool will be created in conjunction with people with aphasia as a mechanism for people with aphasia to give feedback on technology use. This combined approach to the research will provide new insight into the usability of computer therapy in aphasia rehabilitation. In light of the ageing population and strains on service provision, this research is important to help understand the potential that computer delivered therapy can provide. It will explore peoples engagement with, and views of computers in therapy. This will help policy makers when planning and resourcing therapy services for people with aphasia and allow their voices to be heard.

Award Date
27 May 2016
Award Value
€158,714
Principal Investigator
Professor Aine Kearns
Host Institution
University College Cork
Scheme
Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals