Talk Around IT. Apps to help speech and language difficulties

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Talk Around IT. Apps to help speech and language difficulties: Home-based rehabilitation to help speech & language difficulties such as aphasia after stroke, brain injury and other conditions

Dublin, IrelandDublin
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Over 20 million people in the EU have speech and language difficulties such as Aphasia often after stroke, brain injury and other conditions. This includes word finding difficulties which impair communication resulting in social isolation. Our home-based rehabilitation software uses speech and language therapy enabling people to spend longer engaging in key exercises. Research shows that increasing this time is directly linked to improvement.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Speech & language impairments like Aphasia make it difficult to understand or say the correct word. This often leads to depression and disengagement with all forms of therapy, increased pressure on the family carer and social isolation for the individual and their family. Once the aphasic person leaves hospital there are very few rehabilitative supports unless they can afford private therapy which is prohibitively expensive for most people. As a consequence, there is a low recovery rate from conditions like Aphasia. This population often suffers additional health issues and the pressure on their family may lead to poor carer health. This can result in an inability to care for a loved one at home and necessitate expensive residential care.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We created a suite of apps based on Semantic Feature Analysis, an evidence based methodology used to treat word finding difficulties. These Talk Around IT apps present key exercises that Speech & Language therapists (SLTs) often use to improve word finding. Using our apps patients can practise at home for as many hours as they choose. Increasing time engaged in these exercises improves their chance of recovery. These apps can be used without support from a therapist. They also include tools to help family members learn how to ask semantically accurate questions. This improves the potential for rehabilitation and promotes interaction, thereby helping to address the social isolation. We intend to develop these apps in a number of languages.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Steve has aphasia after a stroke. Using our app he can: 1. Do key exercises for many hours every day at ¼ the cost of one private therapy session. 2. His quality of life has improved as he has learned new words. 3. He is less isolated as others use the app with him & he is more confidence in his speech. 4. His mood is better, as a result, he is engaging better with physiotherapy & occupational therapies. 5. It is easier to care for him at home, this reduces the chance of Steve moving to an institution. This leads to savings in health e.g. UK carers save the economy £119 billion pa. 6.The health of his family carer has improved since Steve's mood and independence is better.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We are currently researching which languages and cultures can best adopt our digital solution. We are analyzing the following variables in different languages and regions: access to technology, cultural attitudes to eHealth, number of Speech and Language centres willing to use apps in therapy and opportunities to collaborate with health care organizations is the initial research stage. We will then research design optimization and digital marketing strategies within the selected countries. We have begun by translating the app for the Spanish market, replacing ‘British’ vocabulary items with items more commonly found in Spain.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a small number speech & language therapy (SLT) app providers. We have only found one directly comparable product for word finding difficulties. We differ from this, and others, in the following ways: 1.We are the first SLT app provider to address social isolation by providing opportunities for friends and family to learn key skills and interact with their loved one. 2.Our image quality and user friendly layout far exceeds our direct competitor and the majority of SLT apps. 3.We provide apps for iOS, OS X, Android and Windows so our apps can be used on almost any tablet, computer or kindle; this is very unusual. 4.Our apps represent better value for money than others in this sector. 5.We constantly respond to expert feedback to improve our apps 6.You do not need a therapist to use our apps effectively.


Dr Aviva Cohen is CEO and founder of Neuro Hero. She has worked to support those with disability since her husband’s stroke in 2006. Her work received awards from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Arthur Guinness Fund. Our Senior Speech and language therapist, Milind Sonawane has 15 years experience across health care settings in India, Asia Pacific and Ireland. Roisín Carroll: project manager; has expertise in digital project management and language acquisition and has worked in the Educational sector in Spain and Morocco. Our CTO, Ian Kennedy, is an award winning designer with 20 years experience in Games Design, Animation and video production. Gordon Murphy: consultant App developer is a third level lecturer in app development & multimedia developer since 1998. DSA are providing a team with a cross section of skills: Digital Marketing, Programmers, Researchers and Project Managers,