L. Šebková, K. Vitásková

Palacký University, Insititute of Special Education Studies (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Speech and language therapy university studies are one of the most demanding from the curriculum, but also technology point of view. To be prepared for modern speech and language therapy and teaching practice (as speech and language therapists study and work in the Czech Republic and in many other countries under the study programs and professional fields of special needs education), the students must obtain a lot skills, including those related to special technical equipment utilization and research-based practice. The aim of this research paper is to introduce the possible use of special technical equipment in special needs education treatment to enhance better visual feedback for university students with speech difficulties. It suggests the possibilities of application of this scientific method in special needs support services at universities, improving consequently the education of future speech and language therapists – university students by using research-based practice. The paper briefly introduce the principle of electromagnetic articulography (EMA) analysis and its utilization in speech therapy intervention and education of persons with communication disability at university level.

The Articulograph AG501 allows the digital recording and backward visual presentation and evaluation of the movements of the articulators (tip and body of tongue, lips, lower jaw, and soft palate) during speech production. We used this equipment to record and analyse the movements of the speech articulators and compare the differences of the visually displayed results with simple, non -objective observation of the speech of the student and acoustic perception.

The analysis of acoustic record did not revealed any deviation from normal speaking. Nevertheless, when we analysed the visual record of the amplitude of articulatory movements using articulography, we found changes that acoustic analysis did not capture, especially in the trajectory of the movements. This kind of visualization and analysis allows the students to better understand the articulation of a person or associated difficulties and their reasons. It also serves as a better tool for finding a deeper characteristics of the speech movements and for future intervention plan.

The contribution provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art in the experimental equipment (electromagnetic articulography; EMA), and also introduces an exemplary analysis of the audiovisual record of computer transcription of orofacial movements for university education and support services. We consider this strategy to be a guide for new approach to education of speech and language therapy students and a good example of the application of research-based data in better treatment of students’ speech abilities.