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  • Rebecca Bright

Q&A from the NAPLIC presentation

Dr Yvonne Wren had so many questions after her NAPLIC presentation that we have compile the answers here. Will this just be for English speaking children? The current project has been built initially, and will be evaluated with, children who are English speakers. However, the plans are that if the evaluation is positive, that we would look to do further work to widen the tool's applicability. This would likely include looking at other languages and looking at bilingual children.


Did your samples include bilingual children or just monolingual children? Were samples from children with EAL included in the development? Our citizen science data collection included participants from across the country, from children who were bilingual and children with identified disabilities. In our stratified sampling dataset, we have used 600 children who are monolingual and without disability. However, the data from the wider group will be used by the researchers.


Did no one use the app in Northern Ireland?

We had participants from across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.


In the 600 sample used, Do you have a breakdown of children where English is an additional language ? Our citizen science data collection included participants from across the country, from children who were bilingual and children with identified disabilities. In our stratified sampling dataset, we have used 600 children who are monolingual and without disability. However, the data from the wider group will be used by the researchers. Currently the team members from the University of Newcastle are exploring the data from children where English is an additional language.


Are there any future plans to make the app appropriate for older children / young people? Are there any plans to expand to other stories suitable for older children and young people? The current plan is to build a tool to be used by speech and language therapists with children aged four to seven years and eleven months. The team would be keen to extend the tool's usage for older children and young people in the future potentially.


Can anyone sit with the child and then send the data to the SALT? Just thinking about how useful this could be for a screen/triage in Mainstream services The current study will involve some children using the app with the speech and language therapist in a clinic, while other children will access the app remotely from home.


Interested to know, what kind of impact accents had on app's ability to transcribe. The technology must be very sophisticated to cope with all the dialects/accents across the UK? Accents are always a challenge for automated speech recognition (ASR) technology. The Language Explorer's transcription improvement tool has been built knowing that the ASR based transcription will need to be adjusted, especially for various accents.


Is there a way to save the data securely in the app? The clinical version of the app will enable the data to be saved in the app securely and shared to the clinician using secure data transfer protocols


Would you have the option to remove the background noise on the story (the sea noises). It may be very difficult for some of our children to filter this out. The music in the app can be turned off, but the background noises are currently always played along with the narration. We will look at how children find this feature in the evaluation phase.


Does it work for children with speech sound difficulties? Do you have plans to look at transcribing unintelligible speech? In the present study we are not testing the app with children with speech sound difficulties, but this may be an area we explore further in later studies.


How sensitive is the app to the device you are using (i.e. if a lower tech device with a lower spec microphone?) The app has been tested on a range of mobile and web technologies and performance has been sufficient for gathering the language samples without an external microphone

Do you have a range of stories and repeat activities so that the app could be used multiple times to assess progress or development? We currently have the one story to be used in this study. In the future it would be very useful to look at how we can monitor progress or use a range of stories


Do you intend to include stories representative of a range of cultures? We would like to extend the range of stories to represent a broader range of cultures. When we co-designed the treasure quest story with children we had to find a storyline that would be engaging for as many children as possible. When we surveyed the parents of children who participated in the citizen science part of the project, over 90% said their children found it enjoyable. We are keen to look at how to be more inclusive.


Language Explorer looks great. I already use the Peter and the Cat & Squirrel Story apps but I like that Language Explorer tries to record the sample is so positive. What sort of price? The pricing for the product is yet to be decided. We hope to offer an introductory price to enable as many people as possible to try it on release.


Does it record fillers? um and err etc

The transcription improvement stage of the app facilitates the mark up of mazes including fillers.


What age group is the app for? This current version of the app is built for children aged from four years through to seven years eleven months.


When do you anticipate it will be available on the app store?

Early 2022


Will it be available to researchers as well? Yes, we are keen to collaborate and share our technology. Please contact us to discuss how you would like to use it.



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