Dr Dean Sutherland
University of Canterbury
Augmentative and alternative communication technology and strategies
Dean Sutherland is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing at the University of Canterbury. His research interests include communication across the life span, the use of augmentative and alternative communication approaches when speaking is difficult. This has recently involved the use of voice-banking technology to develop kiwi-accented voices for the use on speech-generating devices. His teaching includes ethics, cultural responsiveness, and professional practices for speech-language therapists. Dean also chairs of the University’s Human Ethics Committee.
Communication best practice and voice banking technology
This presentation summarises current research on best practice communication support for individuals with MND. This includes the timely provision of information about the communication options to individuals and their families, and the availability and usability of high-tech speech-generating devices (SGDs). A key component of an effective communication support system are the voice banking and message banking processes. These involve individuals recording their voices for future use on SGDs when personal speech becomes challenging. Findings from a recent New Zealand study that investigated the use of voice banking technology with New Zealand English speakers will be reported. This includes the perspectives and experiences of voice donors. The presentation will provide information on the latest voice technology and implications for people with MND, their families, and the professionals who support them. Current and future communication-related challenges in MND are also considered.