Sunday, March 16, 2008

Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disability

Learning disabilities as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a disorder in one or more of the basic, psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written languages. These may be manifested in disorders of listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling, or arithmetic. They include conditions which have been referred to as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, developmental aphasia, etc. They do not include learning problems which are due primarily to visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, to mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or to environmental disadvantage.

all the fears you hold so dear, turn to whisper in your ear

ok, so i think that the meltdown earlier stemmed from a sever epistemological crisis initiated by a conversation with UNT's computational neurology prof. it would seem that he is a proponent of epiphenomenalism... think hardcore behaviorist but instead of pretending the mind doesn't exist at all they just think that its an accidental side effect of brain activity with no actual control over the activity of the brain. while clearly a philosophical point of view, he seems to be sure that it is the only reasonable aproach to neuro-science that does not bring unsupported assumptions into the process.

a key feather in the epiphenomenalist hat is a series of latency experiments that claim to show that we don't experience a conscious feeling of making a choice until after the brain has already made the choice, thus proving the conscious mind superfluous. to me the major flaw in this logic is that the experiment only shows that there is latency in reporting a conscious experience. it says nothing about whether the brain activation is the experience of making a choice and the reporting gets put off for a few milliseconds, or (according to the claim) that the mind is simply getting a memo from the brain telling it that it made a great decision. and there are other possible readings of the experiment that can go either way.

UCSC project aims to provide a virtual speech therapist via cell phone

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have received funding from Microsoft Research to develop a virtual speech therapist, accessible on a cell phone, to aid stroke survivors in Malaysia. The self-contained language rehabilitation program will use a computer-generated talking head that provides realistic speech and mimics the natural movements of lips, tongue, and jaw.

About 40,000 people suffer from stroke every year in Malaysia, and communication impairments are common among stroke survivors, said principal investigator Sri Kurniawan, an assistant professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC. As in many developing countries, however, access to speech therapy is limited. A shortage of speech therapists in Malaysia is one obstacle, and patients often have difficulty traveling to existing speech therapy centers.

"This project aims to create a virtual speech therapist on a cell phone," Kurniawan said. "Initially, the patient will meet with a therapist to work out individualized therapy programs. Then the programs will be loaded onto a cell phone and given to the patient."

Learning disabilities linked to later language problems

A Chicago university has suggested that a degenerative condition that affects language is linked with learning disabilities.
Scientists at Northwestern University found that people who suffer with primary progressive aphasia, a neurodegenerative condition affecting language, are more likely to have had a history of learning disabilities.People who have the condition experience deterioration in their language capabilities as they get older. The signs of aphasia include struggling to speak expressively, trouble understanding speech, and difficulty with writing and reading. In the report, the scientists state: "This relationship may exist in only a small subgroup of persons with dyslexia without necessarily implying that the entire population with dyslexia or their family members are at higher risk of primary progressive aphasia."The effects of aphasia differ depending on the individual and the symptoms can sometimes be eased by working with a speech therapist.Northwestern University's study has been published in the February edition of Archives of Neurology.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gesture and aphasia: Helping hands?

Background: The study of communicative gestures is one of considerable interest for aphasia, in relation to theory, diagnosis, and treatment. Significant limitations currently permeate the general (psycho)linguistic literature on gesture production, and attention to these limitations is essential for both continued investigation and clinical application of gesture for people with aphasia.

Aims: The aims of this paper are to discuss i ..............