Saturday, June 12, 2010

On TTS programs

I have a problem when I go to therapy appointments. You see, although my verbal IQ is in the superior range (meaning, my vocabulary is good) my verbal fluency is "below average." I have trouble with verbal communication, and I get frustrated. This is especially true in therapy when I'm expected to speak for what feels like long periods of time on sometimes difficult subjects. For many of the things I need to talk about, I just don't have the words.

The solution is fairly simple. Although I struggle to speak, I can certainly type whatever is on my mind. Leigh and I sometimes have conversations where I type and she talks, sitting side by side (at least, we did in college). But this setup doesn't work very well in therapy, where my therapist is across from me. I'd rather not pass the laptop back and forth... it's slow and cumbersome and basically, it's a pain.

So I set out to find Jtalk, the text-to-speech (TTS) program I used in college but had since deleted from my computer. Turns out it's no longer available. Kate and I spent forever on the night before my therapy appointment trying to track down a good TTS. The problem was that they all used the same voice (Microsoft Sam), which sounded flat as could be and like he was underwater. It was terrible and hard to understand.

Finally, around 2 am, I found Language Reader. This program uses characters (my favorite is Merlin, the wizard) to talk, and their voices are pretty good. The only downside is that they're all men.

Oh, and did I mention that, after having stayed up past 2 am to find said TTS, my therapist cancelled on me early the next morning. At least I'm set for next time.


  1. forgive me for pointing out the obvious here but how come the therapist can't just sit next to you? It's your appointment and she should be happy to do it to get the most progress out of it

  2. It's on a couch, and you have to sit REALLY close to both see the computer (closer than Leigh even wants to be sometimes), so it would be awkward with a therapist.

  3. Yeah that would be awkward for me too, sitting so close to someone. I am glad you found something Lydia :)

  4. I have just had a genius idea!! What if you used her computer (always assuming she has one!) with you typing away with the keyboard in your lap and then she can sit and watch the screen, far enough away (I get the too close thing) You could just crank up the font size so both of you could see what was going on. come to think of it, you could just do that with your lap top and she could stand behind you if her reading over your shoulder didn't freak you out...that would get to me a bit....just a thought from 4am with Bear