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Smartphone app promises speech therapy at your fingertips

Liza Yosephine
Liza Yosephine

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, April 19, 2018 | 11:40 am
Smartphone app promises speech therapy at your fingertips

The app emphasizes a family-centered approach, providing a way to help children with hearing impairment develop listening and speaking skills in a pleasant learning environment that involves the whole family. (Shutterstock/File)

Australia-based Spokle Group has launched a speech therapy app in Indonesia, as the company aims to make treatment of children with special needs more affordable and accessible.

Founder Elisabeth Yunarko said the app sought to bring expert knowledge to families to provide regular support for children with special needs in the form of telepractice.

The approach uses telecommunication technology to provide services by therapists and speech pathologists at a distance and linking them to patients for assessments and video consultation.

"Indonesia has more than 18,000 islands; it is difficult for many families to access regular treatment. Meanwhile, mobile technology is readily available, so we thought, why not bring expert knowledge to the family?" Yunarko said. 

Read also: Spokle app offers family centered therapy

Andrew Kendrick, a certified therapist with the Spokle team, said the app emphasized a family-centered approach, providing a way to help children with hearing impairment develop listening and speaking skills in a pleasant learning environment and involving the whole family. 

Kendrick said he had joined the Spokle team for its family-orientated approach, noting that he had 10 years of experience teaching and providing therapy in Australia and Asia and helping families of children with special needs.

"I also understand that the idea of ​​Family Centred Practice, in which we emphasize families, is not common practice," said Kendrick.

The Spokle app, which uses English and Indonesian, connects families to expert knowledge in a way that is affordable, convenient and cuts across geographical barriers.The Spokle app, which uses English and Indonesian, connects families to expert knowledge in a way that is affordable, convenient and cuts across geographical barriers. (JP/A. Kurniawan Ulung)

Spokle, a play on the words "sparkle" and "spoken", was created in response to a WHO estimate that 466 million people worldwide suffer from hearing impairment, including 34 million children.

Untreated hearing impairment in children can affect the development of speech.

Spokle seeks to provide affordable and accessible expertise by offering more than 400 informative guidance and speech therapy tutorial videos with real-life examples. 

While the programs were created by foreigners, Indonesian users have contributed to creating videos featured in the app. 

Obtainable in Indonesia for Rp 250,000 (US$18.15) via iTunes and the Google Play Store, Spokle is also available in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. (wng)

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