On the Use of Speech Technologies to Achieve Inclusive Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities

On the Use of Speech Technologies to Achieve Inclusive Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Ana Pérez Pérez (University of Granada, Spain), Zoraida Callejas Carrión (University of Granada, Spain), Ramón López-Cózar Delgado (University of Granada, Spain) and David Griol Barres (Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4422-9.ch057
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New technologies have demonstrated a great potential to improve the social, labour, and educational integration of people with special needs. That is why there is a special interest of academia and industry to develop tools to assist this people, improving their autonomy and quality of life. Usually, intellectual disabilities are linked with speech and language disorders. In this chapter, the authors present a review on the efforts directed towards designing and developing speech technologies adapted to people with intellectual disabilities. Also, they describe the work they have conducted to study how to gather speech resources, which can be used to build speech-based systems that help them to communicate more effectively.
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Communication, Language, And Speech Impairments

The primary means of human communication is the oral language, as it allows individuals to express and understand ideas, thoughts, feelings, knowledge and activities. As highlighted by (Vila, 2008), language is a very powerful tool, “a specifically human communicative behaviour that plays important functions in a cognitive level, social and communication, allowing humans to make explicit their intentions, stabilize them, change them in regulations very complex of human action and enter to a positive plain of cognitive and behavioural auto regulation, which cannot be reached without language” (Puyuelo, 1997).

Language is acquired by learning through the interaction of biological, cognitive, psychosocial and environmental agents (Puyuelo, 2003) and it is started at birth (Montoya, 2009). (Miretti, 2003) defines three learning stages:

  • Pre-linguistic level: From birth up to twelve months. Babies transfer information through the tone, intensity and rhythm of crying.

  • Linguistic level: Between twelve months and five years. It is a period when vocabulary acquisition grows quickly learning more phonemes, although phonologic development is not complete until the next level (Puyuelo, 2000).

  • Pure verbal level: Between five and twelve years. The meaning of words is symbolized and abstractions are built as required in the learning process of mathematics.

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