NYC Special Education Collaborative Launches Program to Make Speech Therapy Better and More Cost Effective

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New York City Special Education Collaborative announced today the launch of an innovative new pilot program for children with speech disorders. The Speech Buddies Advantage program aims to improve the quality of care provided to families by providing speech therapy services that are more effective and more affordable for schools than current offerings.

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In this era of serious budget constraints, it is rewarding to be able to offer something that is expected to both produce better results and save money.

New York City Special Education Collaborative announced today the launch of an innovative new pilot program for children with speech disorders. The Speech Buddies Advantage program aims to improve the quality of care provided to families by providing speech therapy services that are more effective and more affordable for schools than current offerings.

The program gives speech language pathologists a new set of tools to make their job easier and more efficient. The tools at the heart of this program are called Speech Buddies and they are being donated to 40 New York City families by San Francisco-based Articulate Technologies, Inc. Until now, speech language pathologists have often relied on homemade devices (peanut butter, popsicle sticks, and tongue depressors) to assist with tongue placement guidance for children struggling with a particular sound. Speech Buddies consists of five tools that take the guess work out of speech therapy. Each tool corresponds to either the “S”, “R”, “SH”, “CH” or “L” sound and shows the child precisely where to place his or her tongue to make the desired sound correctly.

The Speech Buddies Advantage Program is arriving at a time of great need. According to the National Institute on Communication Disorders, one out of every fifteen children has a speaking disorder. Around 10% of the students in New York City’s 136 charter schools receive speech therapy at a cost of between $40 and $90 per hour. Since most students remain in speech therapy for months or even years, this equates to an investment of thousands of dollars for each child.

School officials predict that many children enrolled in the Speech Buddies Advantage program will graduate from speech therapy much sooner saving the schools thousands of dollars. This expected savings is backed by preliminary results from a randomized, clinical trial that took place in New York City. The study, known as INTACT, shows that children using Speech Buddies learn twice as fast as those without Speech Buddies.

“We are very excited about this program as it allows charter schools be more innovative with their special education curriculums,” said Dixon Deutsch, Executive Director of the NYC Special Education Collaborative. “In this era of serious budget constraints, it is rewarding to be able to offer something that is expected to both produce better results and save money.” Deutsch is the newly-hired Executive Director of the Collaborative, which helps charter schools develop rigorous, inclusive and fully-compliant special education programs.

“Speech disorders are often major obstacles in a child’s social and academic development,” said Alexey Salamini, CEO of Articulate Technologies. “It is gratifying to us to be able to offer children and parents a solution that works so quickly that kids can spend less time in speech therapy and more time in the classroom.”

In all, the program will enroll forty participants at roughly ten to fifteen NYC charter schools. To see if your child is eligible for the Speech Buddies Advantage program, email: sbadvantage(at)articulatetech(dot)com.

About the New York City Special Education Collaborative:

The New York City Special Education Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a part of the New York City Charter School Center (Charter Center) which is an independent, not-for-profit organization that helps new charter schools get started, supports existing schools, builds community support, and trains new leaders so that highly effective public charter schools can flourish. Charter Center’s team of education experts believes that charters are one tool to help build and maintain a great system of public schools for all children in New York City.

The Collaborative creates special education programs by providing technical assistance and resources for schools to navigate complex legal guidelines and compliance requirements. It also supports charter schools in their recruitment, training and development of special education staff. Currently, the Collaborative is holding its membership drive for the upcoming school year with a goal of launching as an independent nonprofit by 2012.

About Articulate Technologies:

Articulate Technologies is committed to improving the lives of people living with speech and communication disorders by providing clinically proven treatment options. Articulate Technologies was born from a team of speech pathologists and MIT trained engineers who were frustrated by the lack of new technology available to speech therapists. By integrating sound engineering principles, scientific testing in clinics, and a deep knowledge of the practice of speech therapy, Articulate Technologies introduced its first product line, Speech Buddies, which are designed to treat articulation disorders, the most common type of speech disorder.

Contact:
Robbi Peele
robbi(at)leepcommunications(dot)com
(415)596-7929 (m)

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