An Australian university creates a new technology that helps people with aphasia write their stories

Scientists from Australia’s Monash University have come up with a new technology to help people with aphasia communicate.

In collaboration with speech pathologists at Monash Health and their patients, students from the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) and Monash Young Medtech Innovators (MYMI) designed Project QWERTY, a free website that provides a high-tech but easy-to-use aphasia solution.

Aphasia is a neurological disorder and a communication disability that can affect speaking, understanding, reading, writing and arithmetic. It can be caused by a stroke, a brain tumor, or a brain injury.

About 38 percent of stroke survivors are affected by aphasia. There are currently 140,000 Australians, and an estimated 180,000 Americans live with this life-changing problem, which ranges from mild to severe. Most notably, Hollywood actor Bruce Willis recently announced that he has a disability.

The QWERTY project combines technical skills, clinical experience, and live experience of aphasia, allowing people with disabilities to improve their writing skills. In addition, it can be used on a tablet or desktop device for greater independence and access to rehabilitation.

“This website allows people with aphasia to practice writing and spelling words that have meaning to them, such as the names of friends and family or even their personal details so that they can independently fill out paperwork when they go to an appointment,” said pathologist Jenny Walsh, co-founder of the QWERTY project in a statement. .

Easy and practical help

Speech pathologist Grace Scofield, who was also involved in developing the project, said the website is very easy to use and functional.

“Some people will use the website as a tool to eventually enable them to get back to work by targeting unique words in their workplace; Schofield, who recently used the project to help a patient practice words, enabling them to continue to run their own business, said Scofield,

“It’s all about giving people with aphasia the independence to live their lives.”

The QWERTY project was funded by the Health Care Innovation Summer Scholarships (HISS) along with support from Monash Health and volunteers.

More information about aphasia can be found on the website of the Australian Aphasia Association.

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