Down Syndrome Pronunciations

Al Shamsi, S., H. Talhami, and K. Shaalan, "Teaching Children with Down Syndrome Pronunciations Using Speech Recognition", The IASTED International conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education (CATE 2006), Lima, Peru, IASTED, pp. 146–153, 2006. Abstractteaching_childernds.pdf

Several applications that are based on speech recognition have been developed to assist people with special needs to perform their daily tasks. For example, people who are physically challenged can enter data and issue commands by dictating to a computer. Visually impaired people are able to listen to what is written on the screen by using text-to-speech. However, applications that have been developed for children with special needs (like, for example, Speaking for Myself [16]) do not provide any feedback to the children. This paper proposes and compares two new approaches for teaching children with Down Syndrome (DS) pronunciations using speech recognition. These approaches make use of the major speech characteristic of children with DS to develop an educational tool that assists them in overcoming their speech communication difficulties. The tool recognizes the spoken words and provides feedback. The two approaches that are proposed are: a word-based approach that handles any phonological process, and the phone-based approach that handles one phonological process at a time. The phone-based approach is more accurate than the word-based approach. However, both approaches can be improved through tuning the speech recognition parameters and using single utterance recognition confidence scores.

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