Even though one of the team members suffered from speech abnormalities as a child himself, bringing back memories from 15 years ago is not easy. Technologies have changed over time and speech therapy might have changed in this period as well. In week one a research and initial ideation validation session were planned and after the project, the concept was validated by two speech therapists.
Ploppi's attention points (key takeaways)
Based on our research, we've identified four core principles that are forming the base for Ploppi's Bakery. The speech exercises and setup of the app is created in such a way that it will be adjusted to the child and create new challenges as the child progress. The time which the child is expected to spend on each session is maximum 15 minutes. The first exercise will be easy, followed by a more advanced and ending with an easy. In this way the child will end the session with a positive experience, and the focus from the difficult task. The exercises are built around the phonetic alphabet, so the child will train his/her specific speech disorder more accurately. It is important to keep the child motivated and willing to always return to bake cookies and practice speech.
Ploppi's Bakery - Interactive exercises for children with speech delay
Ploppi's Bakery is a pedagogic tool developed together with speech therapists for children with speech disorders. Ploppi's Bakery creates opportunities where parents and child can bond through speech development and play, and extend the training performed by professionals to your home. The kit consists of Ploppi the interactive plushie, a set of interactive cookie tokens, a children's book and a series of customizable speech exercises which are accessed through an app. The kit is provided by the child's speech therapist. The speech therapist assists the parent in setting up the application and creating a combination of tasks which are personally adjusted to the child's level.
What's happening and when?
Traditionally the child has to become engaged by either their parents or their speech therapist to perform these exercises. This relationship is shifted in Ploppi's Bakery; the child engages itself through reacting upon the cue sent out from the parent. The child is asking instead of being asked to do daily speech assignments. In this way the child believes the initiative comes from itself and not the parent, and at the same time the parent will be ready to accommodate the child's wish. This shift in perceived initiative will trigger the child's motivation, joy and development when performing the speech exercises.
Ploppi's Bakery in use!
In order to motivate the child to perform speech exercises, Ploppi's tummy will start rumbling on cue from the parent. The cue starts when the parent activates the app and sends out a signal to Ploppi. The child is expected to react on this cue and express a will to feed Ploppi cookies. The only way for the child to do this is through completing the speech tasks in the app. The interactive cookie token is then placed onto the tablet and app to activate a task. When the task is completed, the child can feed the cookie to Ploppi.
The Ploppi plushie is designed to be gender neutral and the child is encouraged to play and connect with the plushie outside of the speech exercises. The child is expected to build an empathic bond with Ploppi and subsequently feel a stronger will to feed Ploppi when Ploppi's stomach is rumbling. The book is used to introduce and engage the child in Ploppi's story and involve the child as an important part of the plot.
Ploppi's Bakery assists parents to practice speech with their children, report back to speech therapists and create a routine and clear structure to the child's speech therapy. Ploppi's Bakery offers the child appropriate support and conditions to practice speech. The child is expected to feel accomplished and experience improvement - together with their parent.
The speech exercises and setup of the app is created in such a way that it will be adjusted to the child and create new challenges as the child progress. The time which the child is expected to spend on each session is maximum 15 minutes. The first exercise will be easy, followed by a more advanced and ending with an easy. In this way the child will end the session with a positive experience, and the focus from the difficult task. The exercises are built around the phonetic alphabet, so the child will train his/her specific speech disorder more accurately. It is important to keep the child motivated and willing to always return to bake cookies and practice speech.
It is important that children with speech disorders do not stop talking and are motivated to express themselves through speech. Children with speech disorders require extra attention in order to prevent the disorder from stigmatising the child, disrupt their social development and causing difficulties into adolescence. These children can get valuable support through stimulating speech exercises. These exercises are normally supervised by speech therapists. However, the accessibility and time spent together with speech therapists can be limited and irregular.
Curious to see it in use?
Below you can see the video we created during this project. Initially, several storyboards were created, a draft movie was created and afterwards the final video was filmed and edited. I was in charge of creating the storyboards, filming, directing and editing.
Have a look at the following links for more detailed information regarding Ploppi's Bakery