Video assisted speech technology (VAST) for autism and apraxia
We’ve been very excited to release the results from our hugely successful recent pilot study, funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Phase I research project measured the impact of our Video-Assisted Speech Therapy software on the functional language abilities of six non- and minimally verbal children with autism, all aged between four and eight. The experiment took place over a period of seven weeks.
Now the data has been collated and published, we’re thrilled to announce the good news. After using our VAST software (either on an iPad or using a VR headset) for just three minutes at a time, twice a week, the children in our study showed clear, measurable increases in their imitation, articulation accuracy,
joint attention, and social referencing skills. The kids also increased the number of words they tried to say at a time (mean length of utterance) and improved their proficiency with text-to-speech software.
At the start of the testing, very few children paid attention to the VAST program or gave responses, but by the end of the study five out of six kids sat still, paid attention and produced responses. All parents reported their children increased attempts to say or imitate words, and four out of six parents also saw an increase in eye gaze, communicative attempts, time on task, and joint attention.
It’s been great to compile this initial evidence for what we see in clinic and during teletherapy every week: Our VAST software can help kids improve a range of skills in a really short space of time! We had one parent who was tearful and ecstatic at the dramatic change in her child after just seven weeks.
It was also really satisfying to learn at our post-experiment one-month and two-month check-ups that the kids had retained their increases in language functionality, following the end of the study, and had continued to progress at an accelerated rate, according to their speech language pathologists.
Our VAST apps use simple evidence-based techniques that help those with autism and motor-speech disorders to learn to speak more effectively. Users access carefully constructed, distraction-free videos that simultaneously display speech movements (visemes), speech sounds (phonemes), and written words (graphemes). It creates a multi-faceted communication environment, where it’s easy to learn.
We now can’t wait to get on to Phase II testing of our VAST software! In the meantime, do check out our existing VAST apps for Apple or Android devices: