QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 76 - Page 13

How EPG works EPG requires that an artificial palate be custom made for the child. The child wears the dental palate which contains 62 electrodes that detect the child’s tongue movement on the roof of the mouth when they speak. These can be analysed and compared to typical speech patterns to help the therapist identify more accurately errors in the child’s speech. During a session, the therapist also wears a palate that models the correct patterns to the child. The child can clearly see the images which the tongue makes on the computer screen. The child tries to copy the therapist’s tongue movements by trying to recreate the same pattern which shows on the computer screen. The child can then view their own tongue pattern and compare this to the pattern made by the therapist. This visual stimulus can be incredibly effective in helping the child achieve more normal sounding speech. Photo: EPG taking place at Prospect Bank school in Edinburgh. QMU’s Speech and Language Therapist Zoe Grayson (left), helps learning assistant Joyce (right) carry out EPG therapy with Niamh. but it will be integrated as part of their overall school learning package.” impairment which means that they find it more difficult to correct their speech by just repeating what they hear. EPG allows the child to use visual feedback, showing in real time where their tongue is touching their palate inside their mouths, and they can learn where to place their tongue to create the pattern appropriate for a specific sound.” E a r l i e r s p e e c h p ro j e c t s specifically for children with Down’s syndrome required them to travel to QMU to access EPG. However, travel issues and time spent out of school prevented some children from participating in the earlier research programme. Dr Wood explained: “This project will give 20 children with Down’s syndrome easier access to EPG technology by taking it out of the laboratory and into Lothian schools. QMU will train school learning assistants to deliver the specific therapy which we hope will significantly improve the children’s speech production.” Dr Wood continued: “Children with Down’s syndrome have problems with memory and learning requires frequent repetition to be effective. Children participating on the project will undergo detailed speech analysis with EPG. They will benefit from short bursts of therapy, maybe just 10 – 15 minutes at a time, but this will take place every day over a 12/week period. This means that the children will receive more intensive intervention than ever before. It will not only be tailored to their particular learning ability, QMU Speech and Language therapists will then follow up this therapy by visiting the schools twice a month to monitor the learning assistants’ teaching input and measuring each child’s progress. Dr Wood said: “By taking the technology into schools and equipping learning assistants to use EPG, we are aiming to provide real solutions for children with Down’s syndrome. By targeting younger children than in our earlier study, we are hoping to correct speech problems before they become entrenched. Ultimately, we hope this work will help pave the way to a much brighter future for people with Down’s syndrome.” For further project information visit: http://goo.gl/o6qdQ ❒ QMYOU / Health & Rehabilitation 13