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2017 TASH Conference has ended

Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Still We Rise for Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusion,” shows the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Conference attendees will celebrate their passion for disability rights, civil rights, and human rights while exploring inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs. Return to TASH website.


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Thursday, December 14 • 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Brain-Computer Interface Technology: Communication Usability for People with Autism and Cerebral Palsy LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) enables individuals to access communication, leading to more equitable opportunities and inclusion in schools and communities. This research study examines the usability of an emerging assistive technology, a brain-computer interface (BCI), for the purpose of communication among people with cerebral palsy (CP) and autism. BCIs are systems that "interpret brain activity directly, enabling communication and control by individuals with minimal or no reliable motor function" (Peters, et. al, 2015, p. 1). BCIs rely on brain activity to interact with a computer, rather than volitional motor control (Fried-Oken, Mooney, Peters, & Oken, 2015). Therefore, BCIs have the potential to serve as an ACC for people with complex communication challenges and motor difficulties. This presentation aligns with the 2017 conference theme by focusing on ACC as a method of inclusion for people with complex communication support needs. The research question guiding this study is: To what extent can individuals with varying levels of functional speech use the BCI to achieve AAC competencies? This study employed a single-subject experimental design to study "behavior change an individual exhibits as a result of some treatment" (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2012, p. 294). Ten participants (five with CP and five with autism) participated in a series of up to 14 sessions to learn to use a BCI called Think to Speak. Data collection with six participants is complete, one participant is currently underway, and three participants are scheduled in the summer. Preliminary data suggest that participants are able to learn to operate the BCI to generate a one-word response within the limited number of sessions, but not able to reliably generate appropriate responses between two or more different words. Results will discuss limitations to the BCI, as well as recommendations for future practice and research.


Thursday December 14, 2017 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Imperial Ballroom, Salon A 265 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Attendees (15)