Cleft charity launches all-Filipino speech therapy app
MANILA, Philippines — With telehealth services becoming the pillar of general health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s biggest cleft charity announced on Wednesday the launch of its Filipino mobile speech application which aims to help children with cleft palate access speech therapy online.
World’s leading cleft charity Smile Train said that the app was developed to provide parents, guardians, and children speech therapy services and a platform to connect with healthcare professionals.
A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate.
According to Smile Train, one in 700 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or palate globally. Clefts cause difficulties eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking.
“Technology has allowed us at Smile Train to deliver the speech therapy needs of children with cleft throughout this pandemic. Safety is our foremost priority, and I am glad that this app allows us to safely serve the needs of these kids in the comfort and safety of their own homes,” said Smile Train’s South East Asia Director Kimmy Flaviano in a statement.
The app comes with kid-friendly features and lively graphics with a wide array of educational videos and speech therapy sessions — all in Filipino.
“With the app, distance is no longer a problem. Kids may start their speech therapy sessions which they otherwise would not have started without the app. Furthermore, the app encourages more Speech Pathologists to partner with Smile Train,” said speech pathologist and the lead app content creator Veronica Yu.
“Partnering with Smile Train is life-changing, and I know that the Smile Train app will give many speech pathologists the fulfillment of knowing that they are making a difference in people’s lives,” she added.
Meanwhile, the founder and CEO of Nifty Hero—the company that developed the app—Jeo Paz, said that with the digitalization of health services, patients can now access health services “in a more cost-effective way.”
“This is precisely what the Smile Train speech app is trying to accomplish, providing hundreds of families with cleft access to speech therapy services at little to no cost at all, wherever they may be,” he said.
The app is now available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
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