Gamified home rehabilitation platform for paediatric patients with language impairment

Arnau Valls


    Arnau Valls


    Fundació Privada per a la Recerca i la Docència Sant Joan de Déu (FSJD), Spain


    Specific language impairment is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood, affecting 1 in 10 children. The impairment causes severe difficulties in speaking, understanding what is heard, reading and writing, which leads to problems in learning, in communication with the environment and in behaviour, and has a profound emotional impact.

    Clinical guidelines recommend intensive daily treatment in 3-6-month phases from the age of 4 to 12 years. However, this recommendation comes up against a lack of healthcare resources, the cost of such treatment, and difficulties regarding the availability of therapists and family organisation. The result is that, in practice, actual therapy is provided just once or twice a week. As a consequence, 60 % of cases are persistent.

    With support from OMADA and Daktylios, researchers at Sant Joan de Déu Hospital have developed a speech therapy rehabilitation platform, Blapp, which enables children aged 4 to 12 with language problems to continue their rehabilitation while playing at home, remotely supervised by therapists. Blapp is a video game that identifies the child's voice using speech recognition systems and uses artificial intelligence algorithms to adapt the therapy to the needs and evolution of each patient. Therapists can then monitor data on their progress from the hospital.

    In short, then, Blapp makes it possible to combine face-to-face therapy with the therapist with rehabilitation at home. This improves patients’ rehabilitation outcomes while decreasing the care burden on health services. Moreover, as they are not required to attend hospital appointments, patients have more free time in their day to day lives.