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Social Assistive Robotics May Facilitate Positive Interactions for AAC Device Users and Their Conversation Partner : A Focus Group Study Public Deposited

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  • A focus group format was used to investigate and identify favorable and unfavorable communications between two strangers, an AAC (Augmentative/Alternative Communication) device user and their communication partner. The principal interest was in the feedback gained from an ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) support group at the Salem Hospital which included participants with ALS and their caretakers who have some working knowledge of AAC devices, along with the group translator for ALS patients. With the information gained from the focus group, further exploration took place of how robotics technology may assist the AAC device user and conversational partner to facilitate a more positive interaction and conversation. The methodology of the study included the ALS patient focus group, and discussion about the positives and negatives found within conversations between an AAC device user and conversational partner. In addition, discussion about how robotics technology may assist to improve interactions took place in the second half of the focus group. It was found that participants agreed upon preferring high level of engagement and effort from the conversational partner in the conversation with the AAC device user and offered preferences consisting of positive feedback of how a robot may facilitate this more favorable communication.
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