Clinical Applications of Speech Acoustics Lab
Lab director: Dr. Thea Knowles
The Clinical Applications of Speech Acoustics (CASA) Lab studies speech production in people with motor speech disorders using a combination of acoustic, perceptual, and person-centered techniques. The overall goals of the CASA Lab are to better quantify the characteristics of disordered speech production, as well as to identify mechanisms to inform and improve clinical speech management.
The majority of our work focuses on speech deficits related to Parkinson’s disease. While there are well known, evidence-based behavioral interventions for speech deficits in PD, many individuals are not good candidates, do not respond well, or have difficulties transferring their skills beyond the clinic. The long-term goal of our lab’s research is to identify speech characteristics of these individuals to prevent people from “falling through the cracks,” as well as open up new possible avenues for assessment and treatment.
Some of our recent projects include assessing acoustic and perceptual changes resulting from speech rate modifications, the potential benefits of speech amplification technology, and how talkers with Parkinson’s can overcome challenges imposed by face masks.
Thea recently received the 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigators Research Grant! This grant will support the project “Prominence and communicative intent in dysarthria.” Read more about this funding mechanism here.
We have a new article out in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research related to our work on acoustic changes resulting from modified speech rate: “Speech rate mediated vowel and stop voicing distinctiveness in Parkinson’s disease.
Thea was selected as a recipient of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 2021 Advancing Academic-Research Career (AARC) Award! This award supports the academic-research careers of early career faculty through mentored research and teaching activities.
Thea will be presenting a poster at the 2021 International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference (ICPLA) on Friday, June 25. This conference was originally scheduled for summer 2020 and had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Thea will be presenting a poster at the 2021 Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium (BSMCS) on Friday, June 18. This poster, titled “Stop voicing contrasts in Parkinson’s: Effect of modified speaking rate in connected speech.