ESTA - Enhancing Speech-language Therapy through AI
Speech, language, and communication needs are the most common childhood disability with prevalence rates of 7-10% reported for preschool children rising to as high as 50% of all children in areas of social disadvantage. Children with poor vocabulary are twice as likely to be unemployed as adults. Speech and language therapy has demonstrated effectiveness in supporting children’s speech and language development both in children with typical development and in children with disabilities.
Despite the high prevalence of speech, language and communication needs in young children, and the demonstrated effectiveness of speech and language therapy, many families are unable to access therapy for their children due to the lengthy waiting lists that exist in Ireland. The national waiting lists for speech and language therapy in May 2022 recorded 32,151 children waiting for assessment or intervention. Of those on waiting lists, approximately 11% have been waiting for more than one year.
We Can Do Better!
We aim to develop a digital platform to bridge the perceived gaps in current service provision and harness the power of machine learning to transform service delivery, to radically enhance the efficiency and quality of speech and language therapy, and to address the significant challenge of the current unacceptable waiting lists. This project is funded through the EU Commission Recovery and Resilience Facility under the Science Foundation Ireland OurTech Challenge, grant number 22/NCF/OT/11328.