Innovative communication therapy software

Parent holding baby in the new recliner

On behalf of the Adult Speech and Language Therapy Service and our patients – ‘Thank You’ to The League of Friends for helping us deliver an innovative and high quality service for people with communication difficulties following Stroke and Brain Injury.

The gift of £10,000 to buy six laptops with touch screen capability and a range of communication therapy software has meant that we can now offer more patients Computer Therapy. This gives a more personalised and intensive Speech and Language Therapy to help them towards the maximum recovery possible in the most efficient way.

Advances in computer technology, such as therapy software, laptops and handheld tablets, has been a ‘game-changer’ for some patients having speech and language therapy. When patients need exercises to improve their speech and language skills, this has traditionally consisted of the Speech and Language Therapist photocopying pages and pages of worksheets to provide the patient with enough practice for work at home. We have known for a long time that to be effective, home speech and language therapy exercises needs to be practised daily between therapy appointments.

Recent research recommends intensive practice of at least 2-3 hours each day to make maximum progress. With appointments limited to one hour a week at best, this presented a major challenge to the Speech & Language Therapist – how to supply the self-motivated patient, keen to improve their communication skills, with enough stimulating and varied worksheets to maintain this intensity, when not attending Speech and Language Therapy sessions? For us, this meant spending a lot of time at the photocopier! And patients, faced with piles of paper-based exercises, often felt daunted and demotivated by doing endless tasks with no built-in feedback. In other words, they spent hours working their way through exercises only to find out at the next session that they had made errors, or even to have got the whole lot wrong. Furthermore, few paper-based exercises address the one thing that people are most keen to improve ...their speech.