Research Seminar: Dr. Steven Bloch

Date: 31 May 2018

Time: 12:00 - 13.00

Location: Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Computing, Queen Mother Building

Host: Professor Annalu Waller

We are very pleased to announce this forthcoming seminar with Dr. Steven Bloch from the University College London.

Title: Everyday conversation, severe speech problems and assistive technologies: Exploring the value and application of conversation analysis

Abstract: This seminar focuses on motor speech disorders (dysarthria) experienced by people with degenerative neurological conditions such as motor-neurone disease (MND). The use of computers, access systems and speech-synthesis software is often promoted for people living with these conditions but a key challenge is to ensure that assistive technology design embraces the reality and complexity of everyday conversation rather than a simplified and idealised model of linear message transfer. A traditional speech processing-perceptual approach can go some way to understanding the effects of dysarthria on intelligibility but a different conceptual framework is required to account for its impact on social interaction through everyday conversation.

Exploring and applying the methods of Conversation Analysis (CA), through video data, we will consider how speech intelligibility and the use of assistive communication technology impact on the joint accomplishment of everyday mundane actions such as topic shifting and teasing. The wider implications of this approach on how speech disorders are understood and how assistive communication technology systems are designed will also be considered.

Bio: Dr. Steven Bloch graduated as a speech and language therapist from Birmingham Polytechnic in 1991. Following 12 years of clinical practice in adult community settings, and an interest in conversation analysis, he completed a PhD at University College London addressing the everyday interactions of people with dysarthria arising from motor neurone disease. He has facilitated the development of best practice guidelines for MND-augmentative and alternative communication intervention in association with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and has published widely in the field of communication disorders. He has guest edited special editions of Disability and Rehabilitation and Augmentative and Alternative Communication. He now works at UCL as an Associate Professor in acquired language and communication disorders. His current work includes the development of a new therapy programme to support better conversations for people with neurodegenerative disorders. Steven is currently Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.


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