University of Sheffield, Barnsley Hospital and Therapy Box are working together to create a revolutionary articulation rehabilitation app. STAR (Speech Therapy Articulation Rehabilitation) app will provide greater independence to people who are working toward relearning articulation and speech skills after an illness or traumatic event. The automated evaluation tool will enable users to practice speech without the assistance of a speech therapist, allowing the user to practice more, whilst saving therapists time.
The app can be trained to recognise the words or sounds that a user wants to practice. After initial set up, the app will listen for the word or sound and evaluate how close the user came to speaking the word or sound accurately. The app can be retrained to recognise users as their speech improves. Having frequent, live feedback helps users to better judge when they’re speaking clearly and when they’re making mistakes which could lead to them being misunderstood. The app will facilitate a faster rehabilitation by providing accurate feedback without the need for a professional to sit in on practice sessions. The speech recognition tool was originally built by the catch team at the University of Sheffield, collaborating with Barnsley Hospital in evaluations. It was built into an iOS app by Therapy Box.
Practice exercises can be repetitious and lead to a drop in motivation, and a drop in use. To encourage more use, the app has several games built in, with a target to reach. Different games can be played within the same session to ensure users stay engaged, and that they are happy to come back to play again. Therapy Box designed and developed the games, with feedback from teams at the University of Sheffield and Barnsley Hospital. Ideas were contributed from members of each team during collaborator meetings.
The app’s reporting tool measures a user’s progress undergoing articulation rehabilitation; provides visualisations of data, and helps professionals identify when a patient may be ready to undertake a new challenge. It can be exported in full or in part and can be added to a patients file for information at a later date. The reports were originally designed by Therapy Box, and refined in consultation with the team at Barnsley Hospital who gave feedback on the information which they, as clinicians, would find most useful.