If you know absolutely nothing about speech and language therapy (SLT), here’s a brief introduction; it involves the treatment and care of both adults and children with not only communication disorders but also swallowing and eating problems. These problems may be caused by numerous conditions from a lisp to autism to even a stroke. Speech and language therapy, until a few years ago, was not synonymous with technology. Now however, there is an app for just about any problem an individual suffers. I stutter. Don’t worry there’s an app for that. Dysarthria? Yep, there’s an app for that too.
Speech and language therapy has come a long way since the days of ‘The King’s Speech’ (that movie with Colin Firth acting as England’s Prince Albert with a speech impediment). Technology has been seemly woven into the treatment methods that neither patient nor therapist has seemed to skip a beat. Tablets and iPads are converted to Augmentative Alternate Communication (AAC) devices to better communication with learners who have a harder time. The tablets also run apps which bridge the communication gap in most instances between parent and child. It also makes learning and practicing at home easier.
As technology advances, so do the interests of kids. These devices keep speech therapy current and engaging for the learner. Technology apps for tablets used mostly during one on one treatment sessions with a child, can utilize articulation apps such as Articulate It, Match2say or Junganew. The applications facilitate fun and interactive learning and helps children to maintain their focus. The changes to how speech disorders are treated have been very beneficial to non-verbal kids. Their language skills improve and so do their social skills.
Adults tend to be treated for loss of speech function due to aphasia, Huntington’s disease and a very wide range of other conditions. Apps such as Small Talk are tailored to suit the needs of adult learning and recognition.
Technology in SLT isn’t limited to just tablets and applications. The use of robots to assist autistic children achieve communication goals is being employed. The great benefit of this is that the robot won’t run away.
The future of SLT is bright and even brighter for patients and learners as how we communicate continues to evolve, therein lies a willingness to adapt to technological advancements. This willingness is advantageous since technology is allowing us to hear from those who previously didn’t have a voice.