It is crucial that children with speech and language impairments receive ongoing speech therapy. Speech plays an important part in communicating basic needs and wants to others in their environment, and interacting with others in their community and life. Speech therapy can make an enormous difference in someone’s life and help build confidence. However, as the demand keeps growing, there are fewer speech therapists available. As a result, the price for therapy is increasing, and developing technology that can make the process more efficient while delivering quality care is of high importance.
The Latvian startup CheeksUp is developing interactive games designed as early intervention for speech improvement and emotion expression stimulation. The interactive computer-guided system enable children with speech and language impairments to receive speech therapy from the comfort of their home. The platform is specially designed to engage and motivate children through its gamification approach, and use 3-D webcams to monitor facial muscles and tongue position and movement in real-time for immediate feedback. To complement the system, the startup has also developed a web platform that allow families to manage profiles and plans from any smart device, and help speech therapists track all their patients, their performance and visualize results.
The therapy process is a long-term commitment for everybody involved. Research shows that 30% of work done by speech therapists are oral motor speech exercises, which are repetitive, tedious and can be automated. CheeksUp has developed an innovative solution that allow therapists to remotely and quantitatively track the progress of patients, making the therapy process more efficient and reduce the cost by up to 30%.
Most importantly, the platform help accelerate therapy progress. Regularity of sessions is proven to be the most important factor in achieving results. CheeksUp ensure that children can perform therapy exercises at the therapist's office, as well as home, and keeps users engaged and motivated with gamification elements and incentives for an exciting user experience. Intensive and boring therapy routines are made relevant and effective, making treatment fun. It can increase access to treatment, help children communicate, build confidence and improve quality of life for both children and their families. In addition, the system can be used in myotherapy and physiotherapy, highlight the huge potential of the startup and how their technology can help people around the world.
CheeksUp was founded in 2015 and has previously been part of Relevant Health, a Rockville-based startup incubator focused on health technology, and won Start Tel Aviv 2016, a global competition that brings together startups from 31 different countries. In 2017, the startup has been selected as a finalist of Vertical, a Finnish health accelerator with a hand-picked international team of over 200 mentors.