Research and Case Studies

Additional Information

3x greater issues in adulthood

A delay in diagnosing and treating children with speech, language, or communication needs (SLCN), can 3-fold increase the likelihood of ongoing issues into adulthood. In the UK, it’s reported that more than 50% of children have SLCN!

Diagnosis issue

Delayed diagnosis can lead to problems with literacy, academic achievement, and socialisation throughout school (glove et al., 2015) and beyond. However, early intervention can effectively minimise ongoing difficulties.

“Early intervention is key!”
— Dr. Annie McAuley (TalkiPlay)

Lack of access

Access to adequate speech and language tools for early learning educators is a major issue. Books, reading, and writing, are not helpful until school age. Educators need play-based tools to set repetitive and consistent activities. The ability to access a child’s progress with data further supports correct diagnosis, development, and therapy.

Long term impact of COVID

For many, lockdowns hindered consistent and continued SLP therapy… and telehealth sessions just weren’t sufficient for young children. New recommendations are now to ‘bridge the gap’ for speech & language development by fostering programs in early education (1–5 yrs).

“We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of these issues at the moment. The next 2–3 years are critical.”
— Kate Freeman (Early Intervention Foundation)

Glover, A., McCormack, J., and Smith-Tamaray, M. (2015). Collaboration between teachers and speech and language therapists: services for primary school children with speech, language and communication needs. Child Lang. Teach. Ther. 31, 363–382. doi:10.1177/0265659015603779

What does a speech or language delay mean?

As with all learning milestones, the age kids learn language and start talking can vary. As such, delays and disorders might be hard to diagnose. Here are the two key differences between Speech and Language delay.

Speech (how we form sounds and words) delay in children might be seen in them being able to use words and phrases to express ideas but they may be hard to understand.

Language (giving or receiving information) delay may be present if the child can say words well but only put 2 words together.

Engaging your child in everyday activities (e.g. naming foods or pointing at objects) can help build their speech and language skills. However, some kids need extra support to practise words and sounds, and to find their own voice. 

TalkiPlay was created specifically to help develop those fundamental language building blocks via play-based activities to make learning fun (the way it should be!).

Independent research

In 2019, an independent research trial was conducted with TalkiPlay in two early learning centres in Melbourne, Australia.

In addition, research reported children:

- significantly improved their language development outcomes

- were engaged in sustained interactions, often lasting for more than 10 minutes.

- were visibly excited and engaged in language practice when using TalkiPlay, and shared their enjoyment by smiling, laughing, and making comments/questions during the experience.

- children initiated eye contact & peer to peer communication with each other and adults.

- engaged in indoor & outdoor play while using the TalkiPlay.

For educators, the research found that:

- it gave them a tool to target goals for specific children, such as articulation, using simple words, and peer interaction

- it provided an opportunity to share and reinforce new vocabulary words and introduce new concepts

- the interactive technology-based experience sparked children’s excitement and engagement and provided a rich tactile learning experience that related to everyday items around the centre.

- the device could be used in a range of activities, including:

indoor/outdoor treasure hunt

team-work games that encouraged peer-to-peer interaction

as a task to settle and re-engage kids

within a small group or specifically focussed with children with language delays, and

in a structured timed experience (2 kids explore, the rest listen with the educator asking open-ended questions using spatial vocabulary).

Since then…

With COVID-19 forcing centres to close, we set about making TalkiPlay available at home (launching a new app) and expanding our games universe. Now, in 2021, we’ve launched a bigger and better Speech & Language Program into early learning centres with more activities and device specifications designed to support educators!