August 2023 Content Roundup

It’s time for another installment of Spoken’s monthly roundup! Each month, we bring you a collection of content from the topics you’re interested in so you can keep up with all the latest news and resources.

Aphasia Resources

Profiles of Aphasia: Aubrey Plaza

For anyone navigating the challenges of aphasia—a condition often associated with older individuals—at a young age, this article might be valuable. It demonstrates how aphasia can affect anyone by profiling Aubrey Plaza’s journey with the condition. You might know Plaza for her role as the deadpan April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation. At just 20 years old, Plaza experienced a stroke and acquired aphasia as a consequence. While brief, the article is sure to offer reassurance to anyone contending with aphasia at a young age.

Pet Ownership and Care Can Support Communication, Wellbeing For People With Aphasia

Here’s something fascinating: new research has shown that owning a pet can be helpful for people with acquired language difficulties such as aphasia! To find out how, check out this article, or the attached video.

“High Asia for Aphasia” is Taking Awareness to Unparalleled Heights

In the grand scheme of things, few people know about aphasia, so we love to see campaigns that raise awareness about the condition. A married couple from Arizona is taking things to the extreme by climbing the Himalayas for that very cause, which they say is “bigger than any mountain.” Listen to this episode of Arizona Spotlight to find out how their journey will not only raise awareness about aphasia, but also help bring in donations to support patients in their recovery.

Technology and Communication

Students Use VR, AR to Create ‘Apps for Good’

Six students at Arizona State University participated in an honors thesis cohort program called “XR for Good,” where they worked with others to develop apps for good causes that pertained to their areas of interest. One of these was a game called PACT, which was conceived by a speech and hearing science student to help individuals recovering from aphasia improve their word-finding and picture-identifying capabilities. To learn more about PACT and the other apps created in the “XR for Good” program, check out ASU’s coverage of the topic.

ReCANVo: A Database of Real-World Communicative and Affective Nonverbal Vocalizations

ReCANVo, which stands for “Real-World Communicative and Affective Nonverbal Vocalizations,” is the first-ever attempt at curating and categorizing nonverbal vocalizations. Information about the project was recently published in the scientific journal Nature, which you can read here. How this dataset can be utilized is yet to be discovered, but it may have future applications in the field of AAC!

In-Ear Bioelectronic May Replace Leading Brain-Computer Implants

Brain-computer interfaces have long been speculated to be the future of AAC, but the current reality of them is that they require bulky, invasive, and unaffordable hardware, making consumer applications unlikely. However, a new invention from researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing has addressed the issues with form-factor—SpiralE, a small device that can detect electronic impulses from the brain by being inserted into the user’s ear canal. The unobtrusive, user-friendly, and affordable design makes brain-computer interfacing seem like a less distant possibility for consumers. To learn more, check out Forbes’ article on SpiralE.

About Spoken

Spoken is an app that helps people with aphasia, nonverbal autism, and other speech and language disorders.