With the passing of Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., many have reflected on just how wide an impact he made on the world. In the health care world, Apple’s iPad, one of Job’s creations, has helped to make life much better for stroke patients whose speech has been impacted.
"Compared to older technologies, the iPad is more portable and acceptable as a communication device for those who have trouble speaking," says Gail Lommen, speech-language pathologist at North Memorial. An added benefit is that the cost of mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones, installed with appropriate apps for assisting with language and communication, are far less expensive than previously existing technology.
One app that’s popular among stroke patients and others with speech disabilities is Proloquo2go. (Pro lo quo is Latin for "speak out loud.") Through text-to-voice technology, it allows people to create phrases and sentences by allowing them to select vocabulary words and symbols in a logical, intuitive way. In addition to apps that assist with communication, there are others to treat attention problems and memory deficits.
"With a little creativity, we can maximize both the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of mobile applications," says Gail. "We can also employ a range of apps to target speech, language and communication objectives to entice patients to engage actively in and enjoy rehabilitation."
While the emergence of apps provides a new tool that’s revolutionizing treatment and contributing to better patient outcomes, they do not replace the prescribed treatment as directed by a therapist. "One cannot simply buy a device or application without understanding the nature of the communication problem, the skills that require work, or the most effective approaches for treatment," says Gail.
For more information about after-stroke care and appropriate rehabilitation and therapy, please contact the North Memorial Stroke Center at 763-520-5900.