Israeli firm TikTalk brings AI to speech therapy

The global market for speech therapists is believed to be valued at more than $60 billion, with about 40% of that in the US.

TikTalk's solution brings a new technology approach to speech therapy. (photo credit: Courtesy)
TikTalk's solution brings a new technology approach to speech therapy.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“Most speech therapy tools today are based on old technology,” says Nir Gamliel, US head of business development at TikTalk2me, the company that developed the TikTalk speech therapy tool. “We wanted to introduce new technology to the field based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
The Jerusalem-based company recently launched its new platform in Israel and the United States to help Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work more effectively with children from kindergarten to 6th grade.
“One in 10 children suffers from some sort of speech problem at some point,” Gamliel said. “Our system has interfaces for SLPs and kids to work together beyond what they can do in normal visits. It can take years for kids to make progress because they don’t want to practice their exercises at home. We created a series of games that kids can play on a tablet. Each time the child says the word we are working on, the system records it, uploads it to the cloud, analyzes it, and gives feedback within seconds. The SLP can create customized practice word lists with exact target word parameters to ensure correct pronunciation. They can monitor practice and make remote adjustments, and the parents don’t need to be involved.”
Sandra Laserson, one of the SLPs who helped develop TikTalk, said that “the time available for therapy to be successful is limited by the motivation of the child, and parent’s resources, both financial and emotional. At the same time, children have little inclination or opportunity to accurately practice their speech sounds outside of therapy. This solution improves both of those issues and the results of our US pilots confirm that.”
SLPs can also use the platform in their clinics, or work with patients remotely using its video meeting capabilities.
“In a school setting, an SLP can work with multiple students at the same time,” Gamliel said. “The system requires minimal training, and provides advanced reporting dashboards so that progress can be tracked and even shared with other SLPs if the patient moves to another practitioner.”
In December, TikTalk completed a test project working with 55 kids in Maryland and Ohio, and launched sales shortly afterward. It already plans to launch an update by the end of this month, with more games for the kids and new apps for Apple and Android.
The global market for speech therapists is believed to be valued at more than $60 billion, with about 40% of that in the US.
“We believe we are introducing groundbreaking new technology to the field of speech therapy,” Gamliel said. “There are other companies doing interesting things in this field, but none with AI and machine learning.”