Link to Text Version Speech Research Lab
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Info for Clinicians
Link to Speech Research Lab Main Page
Link to info for users of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices

Link to info for Clinicians

Link to info for Speech Researchers

Link to Model Talker Speech Synthesizer

Link to STAR : Speech Training, Assessment and Remediation

Link to Language and Speech Journal

Link to Speech Research Lab Newsletters

Contact Us!







Clinicians Needed!
About ModelTalker
ModelTalker Software
InvTool Software & Tutorial
BCCdb Software

Hardware Requirements
Inventory Design
User Satisfaction
Clinician Participation

Clinician Participation

Collaborating clinicians will need to become familiar with the ModelTalker and InvTool software so they can answer basic client questions. The software can be downloaded here. The download includes an instructive tutorial and our staff will be available by phone and by email to answer any questions that may arise regarding the software or any other aspect of the study.

Clinicians will identify clients as good candidates for recording personalized synthetic voices. For the evaluation study, we are specifically looking for:

  • Clients with ALS (we suggest but do not require clients who present as having bulbar onset).
  • Clients who presently have a strong enough voice (in the clinician's estimation) to record a series of up to 1650 short utterances (in separate sessions over a period of up to two weeks if necessary).
  • Clients will need a Windows PC with sound card, microphone, speakers, and access to the internet. Ideally, the client will plan to use his or her PC for communication purposes with AAC software such as E Z Keys.
Clients who wish to participate in the study will be required to appoint an associate (a family member, friend, or caregiver) to participate with them. The client will communicate with their associate using their synthesized voice and both the client and their associate will complete assessment surveys.

We will depend upon collaborating clinicians to see that clients who wish to participate in the study and their associates read, understand, and sign a human subjects consent form. Consent forms that have been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children will be provided to clinicians. These must be signed by all subjects and returned to our laboratory.

In order to collaborate in the study, clinicians may first have to obtain Human Subjects approval at their own institution. A packet of information is available to facilitate the IRB approval process (see below). The packet includes an introductory letter to clinicians, a copy of the research protocol, subject registration forms, surveys and evaluation forms used in the experiment, and copies of the human subjects consent forms for clients and associates that have already been approved by the IRB at the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children. There is also a checklist for clinical collaborators outlining each step in the protocol that clinicians should follow.

Complete Experimental Instructions, including IRB Packet, in PDF format

Even if you will not need Human Subjects approval from your institution, you should download this packet, as it contains complete instructions for the experiment.

Once clients and their designated associates have agreed to participate in the study and have filled out all the necessary paperwork, the clinician will assist the client with accessing the hardware and software they will need to create a synthesized voice and instruct them on how to use the software to record their voice. When the client has finished recording his or her voice, the clinician will help them to upload the completed voice to our lab.

On the day that the client's voice is complete, they will be given a standard passage to synthesize and also spend some time using it to speak whatever they wish. Then they will fill out a web-based survey prompting them for their opinions about several different aspects of the synthesizer and the recording process. They will then be encouraged to use the synthesizer as part of their daily activities. The client's associate will also listen to the voice and fill out a survey.

Once each week for the next eight weeks, both the client and their associate will independently access a series of test sentences synthesized from the client's voice. The test sentences will be made available on a secure page of our web site and will not be accessible to anyone except the intended client and associate. The client (and, separately, their associate) will listen to each sentence by clicking a button on the web page and then answer some questions regarding the characteristics of the speech that they hear. At the end of the eight-week experiment, the client and their associate will each fill out a final survey over the web.

In addition to assisting in subject recruitment and providing assistance to and monitoring subjects during the experiment, collaborating clinicians will help us by providing feedback on the process and the resulting synthetic voice.