Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Mayo teenager has created an award winning app to respond to significantly long speech and language therapy waiting lists for children.
Dana (13), a first year student in Mount St Michael Secondary school, Claremorris designed ‘Talk Time’ to provide vital assistance to parents of young children placed on waiting lists and unable to access vital SLT services at the most critical stages of their development.
Most recent studies show over 15,000 children have been waiting well over a year for speech and language assessment in Ireland.

Dana Carney receiving her award from Dahab Sharby representing The Digital Hub and Teen Turn

Dana noted in her research that “Many children do not receive the resources they need within a reasonable amount of time meaning they are not able to communicate their needs or interact with their peers causing them to have extremely low self esteem which can last into adulthood. It can also cause huge anxieties for their parents.”.
Dana developed her app during after school sessions with Teen Turn, an organisation that provides teen girls with the opportunity to gain hands-on STEM experience.
Working weekly with lead mentors in person as well as with online industry mentors, Dana worked on her app from ideation through to design build and testing as well as marketing and business planning.
The ‘Talk Time’ app has several features for both parents to use with their children and for speech and language therapists to send to individuals to work on between sessions.
Features include pronunciation exercises, animated illustrations on sounds production, exercises, games and videos for children to follow.
Teen-Turn is an Irish non-profit organisation that provides teen girls the opportunity to gain hands-on STEM experience and the support to acquire qualifications and jobs.
On working with Teen Turn Dana says “getting the chance to work with Teen Turn mentors was absolutely amazing, they helped me ideate my solution and create a workable chart to keep me focused on the stages of development I needed for both my app and my business plan”.
Teen-Turn aims to influence course decision-making processes, inform participants on education and career options, and combat stereotypes by strategically changing how girls from underserved and underrepresented communities identify with and gain access to STEM career environments through summer work placements, after school activities, grinds clubs, and mentoring from ‘Junior Cert to job’.
Dana added she is “so grateful to Iseult and Ms Hogan for all the support and encouragement”.
She is not finished yet, as well as plans to release her app into the Google Play store and Apple Ppp Store
She would also like to integrate an AI teachable machine feature into her app to help children with their pronunciation! We look forward to seeing this app on our phones in the not too distant future.
More information on their activities and the support they provide to girls is available at
Technovation is a tech education nonprofit that inspires people around the world to believe in themselves as leaders and become more confident, curious problem-solvers. Technovation offers interactive learning programs in which young people ages 8-18 and adults in their community learn how to use technology to solve real-world problems. Technovation partners with leading organisations like UNESCO and UN Women, and with mentors from companies like Google, NVIDIA, and Adobe to reach children and families in more than 100 countries.
To learn more, visit

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