This presentation discusses our experience modifying VOCAs (voice output communication aids) for use in religious rites with special consideration for adjusting to local and temporal variations and spontaneous changes in speech rate.
For some VOCA users, an important part of life includes church worship, an integral part of which often includes praying aloud in unison. Not only is there a social aspect to joining in these prayers but, to a religious adherent, active participation in them also has the potential to offer deep personal spiritual meaning. In certain traditions, spoken prayers are part of a well-established ritual: the content, order, and timing of which are very predictable, making them an ideal opportunity for VOCA use.
This paper highlights spiritual, social, and logistical considerations of VOCA modifications for church rituals based on comments from users, leaders, and participants in rituals where a VOCA was used. Implications on device acceptance will also be discussed.
Participation in religious ritual can fulfil internalised roles and identity, which can be intensely motivating for some. Such rituals demonstrate communication as an integral part of life that goes beyond merely accessing language, transcending the boundaries of traditional allied health domains.