Welcome from our director
The REKNEW research group addresses the complex communication needs of children and adult groups with developmental, acquired and/or neurodegenerative disabilities. We work on many different REKNEW projects, targeting different childhood and adult groups and communication supports. Our approach is based on a philosophy of Participatory Action Research: we believe that individuals with complex communication needs should be part of our research endeavors, from the initial questions posed in a study to the dissemination of research results.
We invite you to explore our website and examine our different clinical research projects. We would be happy to discuss our work with you, whether you are interested in participating in a study, supporting us, learning about our recent publications or knowledge translation activities, or just finding out more about communication supports for adults and children.
~Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken
Who funds our work
Who we work with
REKNEW Projects are conducted in collaboration with various community partners as well as the following organizations:
- Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center
- OHSU NW Clinic for Voice & Swallowing
- Northwestern University’s Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s disease
- Northeastern University (Cognitive Systems Laboratory)
- University of Washington School of Education's Haring Center
- Consortium for Accessible Multimodal Brain-Body Interfaces (CAMBI)
- Oken Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (ORCCAMIND)
- OHSU Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE)
- OHSU University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
- Portland State University Speech and Hearing Sciences
- Portland State University Systems Science Graduate Program
REKNEW projects have reached out to several populations, including adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), Locked-In Syndrome (LIS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). We have also looked at the outcomes of training caregivers in Alzheimer’s Care Units to use communication systems with their residents.
Brain-computer interface systems
Our research seeks to develop an efficient and effective brain computer interface (BCI) system that will serve as a communication access method for individuals with locked-in syndrome. We strive to improve the accuracy and speed of the technology, as well as user satisfaction, for a system that can be used for functional written and spoken expression.
Smart Predict App for AAC Conversation
Our research seeks to develop a unique and practical Smart Prediction AAC system that exploits the physical skills, language skills, and shared world knowledge of a nondisabled co-constructor to support the AAC user. By examining message generation from a co-construction perspective, we are reimagining the concept of AAC conversation and the turn-taking paradigms that are standard in this rehabilitation field, and may offer the field of AAC an innovative and unique way to improve communication effectiveness in complex communication dyads.
Speak My Language! Using Visual Symbols for Supported Decision Making by People Who Use AAC
with Foundation award to the OHSU UCEDD Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken, PI
The OHSU UCEDD recently completed a project in partnership with Community Vision - Assistive Technology Lab to develop a symbol-based Patient Decision Aids for Supported Decision Making (PDAs for SDM) for adults with I/DD who use AAC with limited literacy skills. We conducted focus groups with AAC users about symbol and literacy needs for informed consent and chose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as the first health topic for a PDA; 2) developed symbol-based PDAs for both Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and informed consent; 3) we validated the PDAs; 4) we evaluated their use with health care providers who treat individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome; and 5) we are in the process of disseminating the products.
The Oken Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory Collaborates with Northeastern University
The Oken Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory recently completed an experiment in partnership with collaborators at Northeastern University to quantify attention-related changes in a brain-related oscillatory signal, alpha, during a BCI speller paradigm. EEG data were collected from a group of generally healthy participants who completed multiple instances of the BciPy RSVP calibration task. Subsequently, researchers measured attention-related changes in both alpha and two ERP signals, N200 and P300. These signals all showed changes related to visual attention, but alpha and ERP changes were not related to one another. These data were presented virtually on November 10th at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience; a manuscript is currently in preparation.
Watch our latest video below, where Betts Peters, M.A., C.C.C.-S.L.P., describes brain-computer technologies for communication.