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New App Uses Speech Recognition To Improve Articulation

October 21, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — A new app uses speech recognition to grade the articulation of a sound to help students in speech therapy.

Speech Racer is the first app of its kind said Dan Smith, COO of CompleteSpeech in Orem.

"The majority of kids in speech therapy struggle with the 'R' sound," said Smith. "So we developed an app that will listen to a student's speech and grade how well they said the 'R' sound."

Smith and his team then turned it into a fun, racing-themed game so students will continue to play it while practicing speech. The child simply holds down an input button on the screen while he or she says a word on a flashcard and then a meter will grade how well he or she said the target word.

"It has a scoring feature so you can track your progress of how well you've said the sounds you've practiced, you can go back and review sounds that you struggled with that you rated lower on," said Smith. "We have the app programmed with over 300 flashcards, and they are sorted by where the 'R' is in the word.

The flashcards are sorted by where the "R" sounds are located in a word so students can practice the specific sound they are struggling with. You can also make custom lists to practice different variations of the flashcards.

For now, Smith said CompleteSpeech is focussing mainly on the "R" sounds, but it plans to eventually release apps that will focus on "L" and "S" sounds as well.

The full version of Speech Racer is available on the Apple App Store for $19.99, and the lite version is free. The lite version still uses speech recognition and allows students to practice articulating certain words, but there are no flashcards built in.

"There's nothing like this in speech therapy, so we wanted to provide them a way to try it and test it," said Smith. "We use it in conjunction with a speech pathologist. It doesn't replace a speech pathologist, but it is a great compliment, and it is designed so students can practice at home."

Smith said helping students practice at home in between speech therapy sessions is key to building good speech habits.

"Too often the therapy happens at the speech clinic or at school and then they go home and they practice it incorrectly all week long," said Smith. "This provides a way to make sure they are practicing consistently. Speech therapy is all about building habits, and the only way to build a habit is by doing it correctly and consistently over time. This provides a way for them to know they are practicing correctly at home."

(Source: ksl.com)


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