Welcome from our director

This is an image of Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken, a smiling woman in her 60's with short dark hair and a red jacket.

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

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.

View more information about our BCI systems and how you can get involved in our studies

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.

View more information on our Smart Predict system and how you can get involved in our studies

None currently.

Latest news

Please join us in congratulating Betts Peters, Ph.D., CCC-SLP!

A photo of Betts Peters smiling in cap-and-gown holding her Ph.D. degree from Portland State University at her graduation.

Betts recently completed her PhD in Systems Science at Portland State University. This amazing accomplishment will further support the success of the REKNEW lab as well as the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication and those who rely on this technology. Thank you Betts for your continued dedication to this important work!

OHSU's UCEDD Turns 50

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.

Learn more about the symbol-based patient decision aids for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Informed consent

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.

Download the research poster from the presentation

Contact REKNEW

Please feel free to contact us regarding getting involved in our projects or supporting our work.


Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Watch our latest video below, where Betts Peters, Ph.D., C.C.C.-S.L.P.,  describes brain-computer technologies for communication.

Get involved

Seeking people for our research studies

  • Seeking people with primary progressive aphasia and their communication partners.
  • For current study participant opportunities, contact us at reknew@ohsu.edu. We always have something going on.