App to monitor children's speech

03 September 2014

An app developed by a UC student to help parents monitor the speech, language and communication development of their children is expected to be on the market soon.

App to monitor children's speech

University of Canterbury student Kristi Rabbitt.

An app developed by a University of Canterbury student to help parents monitor the speech, language and communication development of their children is expected to be on the market soon.

The app, Childchat, will assist parents who want to compare their children’s speech with other children the same age. It was designed by third year speech and language therapy student Kristi Rabbitt.

It gives parents easy access to resources, support, guides and local contacts. Parents can also document, record and analyse the speech and language development of their children. 

Rabbitt’s app recently won the university’s annual Entre Apps Challenge. Entre is a student club which runs business events where young hopefuls put their business ideas to the test with the help of mentors and business competitions.

"The idea is that with the easily accessible resources support and contacts at their fingertips, parents will ask for advice or help earlier on,’’ Rabbitt says.

"I often find when telling people what I study there is little knowledge as to what speech language therapists do. This led me to believe there is very little understanding of speech and language development but a lot of knowledge floating around about other aspects of development such as motor skills. This is where the idea of the app stemmed from.

"Technology is so widely used these days, especially apps. The way I see it is that parents are going to Google or read numerous books looking for this information but by creating the Childchat app everything they need will be at their fingertips whenever they need it. I see a real gap in the market for an application like this.

"My aim is to increase parental knowledge on both the role of the speech and language therapist and the development of speech and language milestones as well as to increase early intervention through early identification.

"Some children may be missing out on intervention due to their parents being unaware of the speech and language developmental milestones. Therefore if we increase parental education in theory we should increase early identification and, in turn, early intervention.

"I am motivated to share my knowledge with parents and ensure that all children have equal access to intervention where required. I have just entered a submission for a grant that will allow me to get this app to the market,’’ Rabbitt says.

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications 
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz

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