Derry student creates video game to make speech therapy enjoyable

Jamie Bankhead and Connie ReidJamie Bankhead and Connie Reid
Jamie Bankhead and Connie Reid
An award winning games developer from Derry has designed a unique video game aimed at improving speech therapy for the elderly.

Jamie Bankhead, a Computer Game Applications Development student at Abertay University, Dundee, has already enjoyed success with the company Konglomerate Games, a company which he founded alongside several other students.

The company created a ground-breaking videogame to help children with Cystic Fibrosis do breathing exercises, which is currently being medically tested at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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His latest project, which is a solo endeavour, uses similar gamification techniques to turn speech therapy routines into fun playable experiences.

The game prototype is currently being showcased at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2020 Online.

Jamie, from the Waterside area of Derry and a former Foyle College student, said: “For people suffering from stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, or one of the many illnesses that cause problems with the voice, speech therapy can be essential for improving quality of life.

“Unfortunately, often this can be tedious and time consuming and adherence can be poor. I wanted to create something enjoyable, something that feels like less of a chore.”

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The game, which is untitled, consists of three minigames, each replicating a common exercise for speech therapy.

“A lot of research went into making these games, and I feel like this is the most important part of the process because I don’t have any specialist knowledge in speech therapy,” Jamie said.

“I needed to make sure that everything I was doing was accurate and common.

“If I made a game that was based on speech therapy routines that were dated or ineffective it was less likely to work or be picked up.

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“I worked with speech therapists to deliver the game, using a survey to gather feedback. It asked how accurately the three games replicated speech therapy and on average they scored 8.6 out of 10 which I’m very pleased about.”

Jamie graduates this year and will continue working with Konglomerate Games, a company that specialises in using games for good.

The company recently won a grant from the UK Games Fund, and won the Unloc Enterprise Challenge sponsored by Verizon.

For more about Jamie’s project visit: