Special Needs App of the Day: Speech4Good

Special Needs App of the Day: Speech4Good

This review is courtesy of Wynsum Arts’ Every App Has a Story, the stories behind Wynsum Arts’ distinguished apps.

“I wanted to take a couple of the more effective tools used in speech therapy and make them more accessible and more affordable, as well as more interactive and engaging.”

Jack McDermott, creator of Speech4Good


Jack McDermott has spent years in speech therapy. A 20-year-old student at Tufts University, Jack has stuttered from the time he began talking.

“I know speech therapy is very powerful — that it changes how we communicate. But as a speech therapy patient, I could see the limitations of therapy,” says McDermott.

Children in speech therapy have limited access to the tools their therapists use to help them. Technology that provides visual and auditory feedback is crucial to helping speech therapy patients monitor their speech patterns. But the traditional technology is expensive and not very portable, so patients’ practice with these tools typically is limited to an hour a week in the therapist’s office.

Why Did You Develop Speech4Good?

Jack McDermott: I wanted to take a couple of the more effective tools used in speech therapy and make them more accessible and more affordable, as well as more interactive and engaging. So I founded Balbus Speech and created the idea behind Speech4Good. Last summer, I partnered with a development team to create the iOS code.

More than 250 apps come up in the App Store when you search for “speech therapy.” These apps cover all different kinds of therapy techniques. I know that the customized guidance offered by speech therapists is critical, and my app does not take away from that guidance. My app is meant to complement the work completed with a therapist. Speech4Good does not include any materials for therapy — there are no flash cards, no words to practice. Instead, we offer a tool to make practicing more fun and more effective.

How Does Speech4Good Work?

Jack McDermott: Speech4Good offers a delayed auditory feedback (DAF) tool as well as a digital speech graph (oscilloscope). These tools allow users to see and hear their speech patterns in order to recognize where they are having trouble. The app helps with many speech issues, including stuttering, articulation other voice disorders.

For example, we’ve received feedback about an autistic child whose speech therapist constantly prompted him to speak louder and more clearly. Once he began using Speech4Good, he could actually see what it means to speak loudly while articulating properly versus speaking low and mumbling.

With the full version of the app, users can record and save audio files, which can then be shared with speech therapists for feedback or studied by the user. The full version also allows users to take notes to track progress.

A free lite version of the app will be released soon. The lite version will allow users to practice with the DAF and digital speech graph tools, but will not have recording and sharing capabilities.

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