"In late March 2020, the pandemic forced speech therapists like myself to keep their offices closed and shift almost exclusively to telemedicine. Back then, I did not anticipate the effect that the lockdown had on my patients, especially those who presented with major communication deficits. Their entire lives had changed overnight. To make optimal progress, home practice is crucial. While face to face or virtual speech therapy is important, home practice is critical to the carryover of all skills that are acquired during regular speech therapy sessions.
"As all of my patients’ parents were desperate for effective home practice, I started researching the best therapeutic tools that could supplement therapy and help maintain progress. Since the parents inquired mostly about app-based solutions, I downloaded all speech therapy apps I could find on major mobile platforms. Sadly, I soon realized that the vast majority of them were not evidence-based, lacked quality content, and did not seem effective in the long run.
"I stumbled upon it by chance as its ad showed right after I started searching for evidence-based speech therapy programs. I was impressed with the app’s attention to detail, the depth or the initial assessment, and the selection of visuals. I reached out to the company for guidance and selected 4 of the most fitting candidates among my own patients.The data collected during the trial were then used to guide the product. I ran weekly statistics to determine how much progress each patient made.
"The parts of the platform I found especially beneficial for home practice were humor and motivational videos. As far as assigning the particular videos to each child, I first determined their interests and hobbies so that I could put together a customized video that would keep them from getting bored.
"The first thing I noticed was positive feedback from all four families. One of my patients had actually said his first word (“Mom”) at 6 years old! This patient had never uttered any speech sounds before, per parent report. Another patient went from using off-topic 2- and 3-word utterances to grammatically proper simple sentences. All of my patients made gains in terms of overall communication skills, following directions, and staying on tasks.
"Needless to say, I have been very happy and wholeheartedly recommend it to parents who want to help improve their children’s communication skills, especially in the area of receptive language, expressive language, apraxia, articulation, and social language outside of therapy.
"If I were to offer any clinical advice to the parents, I would say that is a clinically proven, evidence-based developmental program that will work for most children who present with speech and language problems, as long as it is used properly and on a regular basis. And remember: While each child is different, all kids can communicate."
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