We introduce a novel system and model, called Aphasia Characteristics Emulation Software (ACES), that enables users to experience the speech-distorting effects of aphasia. This model adheres to the wealth of literature in language distortions resulting from aphasia.
The ACES system was designed to distort a user’s Instant Messages (IMs) from the original message to one that appears like a message spoken by an individual with aphasia. Thus, the conversation that develops between the user and their IM partner has similar difficulties and hurdles to those experienced by an individual with aphasia. By experiencing these challenges firsthand, users will have increased empathy, knowledge, and understanding of aphasia.
The underlying model and system was informed though a series of interviews and demonstrations (using an early prototype of ACES) with professionals and students from the field of aphasia and other language disorders. Results from an evaluation of 64 participants indicate that ACES provides a rich experience that strongly increases understanding and empathy for aphasia.