February 2024 Content Roundup

Welcome back to Spoken’s monthly roundup. As always, we have a variety of interesting stories involving topics like autism, aphasia, and assistive technology.

Aphasia Awareness

Science & Medicine: Communicating with Aphasia

Texas Public Radio recently released an episode of their Petrie Dish podcast all about aphasia. We’re always excited to see features like this, because they show that awareness of the condition is beginning to grow. In the episode, the host talks to Dr. Cathy Torrington Eaton, an aphasia researcher at UT Health San Antonio, who is currently conducting a study to find the most effective strategies for communicating with aphasic individuals.

How Emotions Affect Word Retrieval in People With Aphasia

This interesting new research from Ohio State University investigates the potential effects of negative emotions on word retrieval for aphasic individuals. Insights from this study could influence therapy and support strategies moving forward, so it’s worth checking out.

Technology and Communication

Feral Minds

Take a look at this article, which examines the role of language in consciousness and how that might apply to large language models (LLMs) and artificial intelligence. It’s a fascinating read that will make you consider the implications of linguistic capabilities in machines and how they might mirror or diverge from human cognitive processes.

ATIA 2024 Conference Wrap-Up

The Assistive Technology Industry Association’s annual conference recently concluded. With over 500 speakers and around 125 companies displaying their innovations in the exhibit hall, it was a massive event. If you missed it, ATIA has shared the conference’s highlights here.

Autism Advocacy

The Power of Sensory Integration: Enhancing Communication for Non-Speaking Individuals

This article highlights the connections between sensory processing and communication. It emphasizes the critical role that the senses play in facilitating better understanding and interaction. The article also offers activities that use the various senses to enhance communication capabilities. These insights are particularly beneficial for caregivers, educators, and professionals seeking to create more supportive and inclusive environments for nonverbal communication.

Philadelphia Receives Sensory Inclusive Certification, First City in the Nation

According to a report from CBS, Philadelphia has become the first U.S. city to receive “Sensory Inclusive Certification.” To receive this certification, the city introduced tools to help accommodate sensory needs, like noise-canceling headsets, and supplied city workers with new training. Check out the article to learn more about how Philadelphia is improving inclusion for the autistic community and others with sensory-based disabilities.

Communication in Culture

A Guide to 2024 Disability-Inclusive Sundance Films

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Sundance is an annual independent film festival. This year, disability representation was a huge theme, with communication-related disabilities even seeing a spotlight. Learn more with this guide to Sundance 2024’s disability-inclusive films.

‘Out Of My Mind’ Breakout Phoebe-Rae Taylor Hopes Kids With Disabilities Recognize That “They’re Not Alone” When They See Disney+ Drama – Sundance Studio

One of the films featured at Sundance 2024—Out of My Mind—is about a nonverbal wheelchair user played by Phoebe-Ray Taylor. In an interview with Deadline, Taylor and director Amber Sealey discussed the significance of the film for people with disabilities. The film is expected to be available on Disney+ later this year.

2024 Slamdance Unstoppable Highlights Disability-Inclusive Films

While disability representation was a large focus of this year’s Sundance, even more representation could be found at Slamdance Unstoppable, an offshoot film festival focused on showcasing work by or about people with disabilities. One of the films, Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World is a documentary about a nonverbal autistic girl’s journey discovering Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). You can find more information about this film and others that were featured at Slamdance Unstoppable by checking out this article.

Check out our previous monthly roundup for more cool stories!

About Spoken

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