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Speech therapy is necessary but not enough
Why isn't speech therapy enough?
Before NiNiSpeech, there was no accurate method of measuring stuttering, and no potential for a long-term cure. Many undergo extensive speech therapy. However, research shows that more than half of patients relapse. The primary reason for relapse is failure to continue the practice efficiently during free time.
NiNiSpeech makes a breakthrough
, an Israeli startup, created an app that assists patients in maintaining an everyday practice, even at home. The revolutionary app calculates how many seconds of speech were spent repeating words or using filler words, and how many constituted clear speech. This allows the patient to keep track of his or her progress.
The user can keep track of progress
Users motivate one another to practice daily
Cheer each other on
The effectiveness of the startup lies in its app , which is essentially a social media platform for people who stutter. The community provides motivation for one another to persist in their practice. Children prefer to work with the app than with their own parents, because of the comfort the community affords.
Speech and brain activity
People who stutter have a harder time speaking than others. From a neurological perspective, this means brain activity is higher than normal while speaking. However, after a year of therapy and practice, brain scans showed much lower activity while speaking. This means the patients were becoming more comfortable with fluent speech and making less of an effort.
Brain activity during speech decreases with practice
Creating a motivational network worldwide
The CEO of the company, Yair Shapira, has a son who stutters. As quoted in the Haaretz article "The Israeli Startup that Says it can Stop Stuttering," Shapira says that dealing with stuttering unprofessionally can actually make it worse. Last week, NiNiSpeech was rewarded a grant of €1.8 million from the European Commission for the pupose of furthering their research and and maximizing the influence of their product.
Shira is American-Israeli and currently lives in Jerusalem. She enjoys yoga, red wine, and good books. Her literary influences include JK Rowling, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bob Dylan, and Dr Seuss.