New app option for veterans seeking speech, cognitive therapy

By Laura Lovett
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Veterans struggling with speech or cognitive disorders will now be able to access therapy through Constant Therapy, a mobile app that provides supplemental coaching and motivation to patients. 

Veterans eligible for speech or cognitive therapy through the US Department of Veterans Affairs will now be able to use the app for free. 

The app is part of the Newton, Massachusetts-based company The Learning Corp. It was developed in 2012 by Boston University Professor Swathi Kiran, who is a specialist in Aphasia. She came up with the idea for the app when working with patients and noticed that they could use a tool that combined technology with communication therapy. The app itself launched in 2014 and uses a tool called the NeuroPerformance Engine to gage a person’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The app uses evidence-based therapy exercises to motivate users and help with necessary skills like speaking, reading, writing, math, and memorization. It is now available to download on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. 

Active duty and reserve service members are at an increased risk for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) because of their exposure to blasts during deployment, the company said. Strokes are also impacting many veterans; the VA estimates that 15,000 veterans go to their facilities for treatment every year.

In 2016, 18,282 service members were diagnosed with a TBI and this year there are already 8,924 cases between Q1 and Q2, according a report published by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

The app helps people with TBI and other conditions by employing 65 different therapy tasks addressing speech, language, and cognition. Patients get instant feedback on task performances. By doing so, it aims to make transitions from the clinical to the home setting easier while allowing consistency between multiple clinicians. The product gives clinicians and patients access to a library of more than 100,000 exercises.

“More than 50 million exercises have been performed by Constant Therapy users to date and with insights drawn from this data, we are uniquely able to personalize the therapy experience for each user,” Veera Anantha, cofounder and chief operations officer of The Learning Corp said in a statement. “It is with great pride that, in time for National Veterans Month, we are able to extend this high-value rehabilitation to the VA’s members and help better serve those men and women in need of more convenient access to evidenced-based care.”