Simon Elliot, Head of Therapy at Meath School, shares his insight into the innovative technology helping children with severe and persistent speech disorders.
The speech and language therapists at I CAN’s Meath School are looking forward to trialling Electropalatography (EPG) in the New Year.
EPG is a computer based speech and language therapy technique which shows the contact the tongue is making with the roof of the mouth (hard palate) during speech. The technique is used to assess disordered speech and correct errors. This helps children with severe and persistent speech disorders to develop more accurate speech sound production.
The technique requires the speaker to wear an artificial palate that is custom-made to fit against the hard palate. Inside the palate are a series of electrodes arranged in 8 rows.
FRONT OF MOUTH
BACK OF MOUTH
Wires from the rows of electrodes send signals to the computer which displays real-time visual feedback on how the tongue is touching the hard palate. This means that the Speech and Language Therapist can see how the child is making a sound, and demonstrate to the child how to correctly place their tongue.
Of course this technique is not suitable for all children with speech disorders, nor is it an automatic cure for speech disorders. Meath Speech and Language Therapists have received training in setting up and using EPG, and established criteria for its use at the school. From this they have identified a group of pupils who would benefit from trialling the approach. EPG will be an additional approach alongside other therapeutic interventions for speech disorder and contribute positively to the school’s overall outcomes.