Nea Hanscomb is the CEO and Founder of Appropo Software, LLC and a parent of a child with nonverbal autism. When she noticed how engaged he was with his tablet, she started searching for speech recognition apps. Not finding anything that would fit her son’s interest or needs, she decided to develop her own app company to fill the void. Their first launch is “Sayin’ It Sam” an app that uses speech recognition technology to help early language learners, children on the autism spectrum, and children with speech disorders.
Why is Sayin’ It Sam™ important for the autism community?
Many of our autistic children who are labeled “non-verbal” are also diagnosed with Apraxia. Many can actually learn to speak to varying degrees because Apraxia is treatable.
Editor’s note: According to the nonprofit, Apraxia Kids, “childhood apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to speak.” They go on to say that children with this diagnosis have a good understanding of language, know what they want to say, but have difficulty carrying out the movements necessary for speech.
Tell us about Sayin’ It Sam – Speech Recognition iPad Games…
Sayin’ It Sam gives children with language impairments the chance to practice speech through a game. It responds to children labeling colors of characters on the screen with fun animations and reinforcing sound effects. Children love Sam. Based on Phonological Processing data of common early language speech errors the game accepts close approximations of colors and does not penalize the player if a mistake is made.
Our latest update includes an opt-in for parents to permit us to save their child’s voice recordings we will use to continue improving the performance or our game. We are completely COPPA compliant and value the protection of children’s privacy.
Here’s a video of Jacob playing our fetch game:
Sayin’ It Sam is ideal for early language learners from as young as two to years old and for children on the autism spectrum with like levels of speech development.
What makes it unique?
The app is played by voice rather than touch. It uses speech recognition software that is safe and private.
How is it being received?
We’re really in the beginning stages of our Sayin’ It Sam app, but we have received great feedback and recognition:
- An award from Speech Technology Magazine
- First Place at the Startups Showcase Live Sharks Tank competition.
Is it available on Apple and Android devices?
Sayin’ It Sam is currently live on the App Store for iPhones and iPads. My goal is to have my app available on Android and in Spanish, Cantonese and Arabic.
What does it cost?
It is free with an in-app purchase for $5.99.
What is your greatest wish for Sayin’ It Sam?
That other developers of children’s educational software and games incorporate Speech Recognition to make speech acquisition more engaging and fun.
What’s next for your company?
I am seeking partnerships to further the work I have done to provide speech recognition as a therapeutic and educational tool to promote speech for children learning to speak.
For more information:
- Go to Sayin’ It Sam website
- Sayin’ It Sam on the App Store
- Nea Hanscomb on Linked In
- Follow on Twitter @sayinitsam and Instagram @sayin_it_sam
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