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Ploppi's Bakery

Speech is something which normally develops within the first 3 years of one's life. Sometimes this development is significantly delayed and underdeveloped. When a speech disorder is identified it is important to address the disorder as soon as possible, preferably when the child is between 4 to 6 years old. According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health: "If a child has failed to convey their message once, they might give up and stop trying". 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.

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Project outline

Ploppi’s Bakery is a pedagogic tool developed in collaboration with speech therapists for children between 4 to 6 years old who are experiencing speech delay.

It is the result of a 2 week long sound design project at Umeå Institute of Design, spring 2016. Created together with Advance Product Design student Daan Hekking and Interaction Design students Hector Mejia and Lene Rydningen.

My personal goal in this project was to further develop design research, graphical design, sound design, model making, prototyping and user testing.

The Challenge

Speech is something which normally develops within the first 3 years of our lives. Sometimes, this development is significantly delayed and underdeveloped. It is important to address the disorder as soon as it is identified.

Children can get valuable support and experience improvements in their development through stimulating speech exercises. These exercises are normally done by speech therapists. However, the accessibility and time spent together with speech therapists can be limited and irregular, which can affect the progress of the child’s speech development.

 

 
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Shifting perspectives

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 uponthe 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.

Research 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.

 
 

The result

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.

 
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