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ARTICULATE + : A system for automated assessment and rehabilitation of persons with articulation disorders

Primary Information

Domain

Healthcare

Project No.

4204

Sanction and Project Initiation

Sanction No: 35-10/2016-TS-1 (Vol. III)

Sanction Date: 27/02/2017

Project Initiation date: 27/02/2017

Project Duration: 36

Partner Ministry/Agency/Industry

Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)

 

Role of partner:The expert speech-language pathologists (SLPs) of AIISH, Mysuru are involved in the preparation of audio-visual drill material for the assessment of speech of children with articulation disorders. During the preparation of drill material feedbacks from the children and parents are considered. Further, the content validation of the drill material is carried out by three SLPs. Currently, speech samples from 16 normal and 16 children with articulation disorders have been recorded in the Hindi language. Similarly, samples from 22 normal and 30 children with articulation disorders are recorded in the English language. The consistent support and feedbacks from SLPs and special educators have been received during the digitization of the protocol for the evaluation of articulation disorders.

 

Support from partner:All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysuru is a premier institute in the country in the field of communication disorders. The institute can be the hub for dissemination of the Articulate+ software to all the potential users which include speech-language pathologists, special educators, persons with articulation disorders and related resources. AIISH is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of persons with speech disorders. The equipment setup includes articulograph, electro-glottograph, nasometer, spirometer and all other tools and accessories. AIISH is considered to be best in Asia in terms of services provided to persons with communication disorders and owns a huge database of samples of various speech disorders. Also, AIISH has a well-equipped acoustic lab for the recording and analysis of speech from persons with articulation disorders.

Principal Investigator

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S. R. Mahadeva Prasanna
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati

Host Institute

Co-PIs

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S. Dandapat
IIT Guwahati

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Abhishek Srivastava
IIT Guwahati

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Ajish Abraham
All India Institute of Speech and Hearing Mysore

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Pushpavathi
All India Institute of Speech and Hearing Mysore

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Sreedevi N.
All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) Mysore

 

Scope and Objectives

Articulation disorders are commonly found in children with hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, cleft lip and palate, and also in persons followed by stroke and accidents. Articulation therapy is a systematic procedure in which a misarticulated sound is corrected at various levels by speech-language pathologists. However, there is a lack of trained rehabilitation professionals in India leading to scarcity of rehabilitation services. The proposal is to develop a suite of applications useful for articulation assessment and therapy at the level of phonemes, words, phrases and sentences in Hindi and English. The anticipated product out of this project is a software-based diagnostic system called ARTICULATE+ for the assessment and rehabilitation of persons with articulation disorder. The ARTICULATE+ will help speech pathologists, special educators and caregivers of persons with communication disorders. Using ARTICULATE+, persons with articulation disorders would avail fast and efficient services which will further enhance their quality of life. The major objectives of the project are as follows. (1) To re-standardize existing Articulation Protocol in Hindi and English for assessment of children and adults. (2) To prepare auditory and visual drill material in Hindi and English for Articulation therapy. (3) To digitize and standardize auditory and visual drill material in Hindi and English and computerization of the Articulation Protocol for assessment and therapy. (4) To develop a computerized system for articulation assessment by evaluating the response through speech processing and speech recognition methods, with appropriate feedback mechanism for monitoring the progress of therapy. (5) To conduct Clinical Trials of the developed system and modifications based on feedback and to deploy prototype of the developed ARTICULATE+ system.

Deliverables

The anticipated product will be mainly to identify the articulation disorder and to provide extensive drill material through computerized mode. The expected product help the individual to understand the articulation error by providing extensive cues through audio and visual mode. The software also helps to monitor the therapeutic progress of persons with disarticulation. This will be a boon in the area of rehabilitation as at present there are no objective or automated assessment and therapeutic tools are available. The proposed software can be used across ages and in different communication disorders.

 

Scientific Output

The audio-visual drill material developed for the Hindi and English languages comprised of 120 and 80 meaningful words, respectively. The developed drill-material is digitized in the form of audio, picture, and grapheme, which are used for the digitization of the articulation test protocol. Speech samples are recorded from 16 normal and 16 children with articulation disorders in the Hindi language, whereas 22 normal and 30 children with articulation disorders are considered for the English language. From each children, for each word, three trails are recorded. Therefore, in total, 11520 and 12480 words are recorded in Hindi and English languages, respectively for the development of Articulate+ software. These recorded samples are processed using various softwares (PRAAT, wavesurfer, MATLAB) and the database for the development of signal processing algorithms is prepared. The proposed speech processing algorithm first segments the acoustic signal corresponding to the target phoneme and further, the segmented region is processed to evaluate, whether the response of the speaker is correct or not.

 

Results and outcome till date

The preparation of audio-visual drill material for Hindi and English articulation test is completed. The protocol for the articulation test has been digitized, which presents the drill material in the form of picture, grapheme, and audio. The digitization of articulation test protocol reduces the cost of time required to prepare and administer the drill material. The software module developed by digitizing the articulation protocol, which includes the functionalities such as presenting the stimuli in the audio-visual form, recording of the response produced by the children for the target stimuli, and saving of the results of evaluation made by speech language pathologists. Further, the recorded samples have been processed for the development of signal processing, and pattern recognition modules. The signal processing module for the automatic assessment of articulation errors is developed, and the preliminary results are obtained.

 

Societal benefit and impact anticipated

Speech therapy for the correction of articulation disorders is a long durational process, and the therapy centres are available only at urban places. Hence, it is difficult to get the speech therapy for the individuals situated in villages. Also, there is limited availability of experienced manpower for therapy services. Articulate+ meets the demand for an assistive, intuitive and user-friendly system for identification and correction of articulation errors in individuals with articulation disorders in our country. The system enables providing articulation therapy to the child at home and monitoring the progress regularly by the caregivers. The system can be used at the primary health care centres of the country to identify individuals with articulation disorders. Therefore, the cost of travel expense to therapy centres, the cost of time required to prepare and administer the drill material can be greatly reduced. Further, the use of signal processing algorithms result in the objective measure of articulation error by providing consistency and enhancing the accuracy of assessment.

Next steps

The recording of speech data for the development of signal processing modules has been completed 60% for Hindi and 75% for English languages. The recording of remaining speech samples and perceptual evaluation by speech-language pathologists need to be completed. Currently, the signal processing methods for the automatic assessment of articulation disorders have been developed. The results of algorithms need to be evaluated against the ground truth ratings obtained from speech-language pathologists. Further, the signal processing methods and user-interface parts of the Articulate+ software need to be refined as per the feedback received from speech-language pathologists, special educators, and users.

Publications and reports

1. Ajish K abraham, M. Pushpavathi, N. Sreedevi, A. Navya, C M Vikram, S R Mahadeva Prasanna, Typical spectral characteristics of plosives in speech of hearing impaired, WESPAC 2018, New Delhi ,2018. 2. C M Vikram, S R Mahadeva Prasanna, Ajish K Abraham, Pushpavathi M, Girish K S Detection of Glottal Activity Errors in Production of Stop Consonants in Children with Cleft Lip and Palate, INTERSPEECH, 2018. 3. C M Vikram and S R Mahadeva Prasanna, Epoch extraction from pathological children speech using single pole filtering approach, INTERSPEECH, 2018. 4. C M Vikram, Sashank Kumar Macha, Sishir Kalita, and S R Mahadeva Prasanna, Acoustic analysis of trills in cleft lip and palate children, JASA-EL, 2018

Scholars and Project Staff

Details of Manpower at IIT Guwahati
Vikram C M : Associate project engineer (31/07/17 to till date)
Pankaj Sharma : Assistant project engineer (19/07/17 to till date)
Kavya B: Assistant project engineer (29/08/17 to 28/07/18)
Dikshita Kalita: Assistant project engineer (03/07/17 to 02/06/18)

Details of manpower at AIISH, Mysore

Navya : JRF (01/11/17 to till date)

Challenges faced

The audio-visual drill materials being used for the articulation test should be easily identifiable by the children belonging to the age range of 2 to 6 years. There are nearly 100 number of words which need to be recorded from each children in 2 to 3 trials. Due to this, the children experience fatigue during recording sessions. Also, it is challenging to control their activities during recording, which affected the quality of recorded audio files severely.

Financial Information

  • Total sanction: Rs. 96.08 lakhs

  • Amount received: Rs. 57.65 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Equipment: Rs. 10.04 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Manpower: Rs. 16.72 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Consumables: Rs. 0.39 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Contingency: Rs. 1.19 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Travel: Rs. 2 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Other Expenses: 13 lakhs

  • Amount utilised for Overheads: Rs. 9.43 lakhs

Equipment and facilities

 

Workstations, laptops, extended visual display, and portable audio recorders.