New technology brings speech therapy home

For William Brown, technology isn't just for playing games. It's to help him work on his pronunciation.

New software and hardware now available can help kids like Brown work on their speech therapy from the comfort of home or even on the go.

"It's been really helpful as a parent. I can have him sit down at the counter as I'm fixing dinner, and I can listen to him and hear that he's doing it correctly," William's mother Lisa Brown said.

William Brown uses a SmartPalate mouth device in his therapy. The device is supposed to show him where to put his tongue to make the proper speech sounds.

"We've developed tools that allow the parents to practice with their students, with their children, accurately at home," said Dan Smith, chief operating officer at CompleteSpeech, which makes the SmartPalate.

iPads are another technology that has generated an explosion of tools for speech therapy. Experts say applications like Articulation Station and Vowelviz encourage kids to practice because they're more like games.

"It helps them to stay focused on something that requires a lot of drill and a lot of practice in order for them to get better with their articulation skills," said Kimberly Jasensky, a speech language pathologist.

But experts warn at-home therapy shouldn't take the place of professional help. Parents should always start with a speech language pathologist.

"There are certain steps that need to happen through therapy. If a client or family, they're not aware of these steps, then what can happen is they can develop habits that are going to actually cause more problems for them in the long run," said Colleen Mitchell, a speech language pathologist.

As for William Brown, the new technology is giving him the support he needs.

"These apps and the technology has played a big part for William in continuing on his progression," Lisa Brown said.

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