Up to 40% of children in Croatia have a communication disorder. Since language acquisition is most intense in early childhood, getting professional help in these early stages is critical for their development. But many children who need help don’t have access to speech pathologists. So to provide every child with equal opportunities to realize their potential, we created the digital platform BaDaBum.
Three key problems inspired the creation of BaDaBum:
• The majority of speech therapists are concentrated in Zagreb and larger Croatian cities, while more rural areas, such as the islands, have next to none. This makes it extremely difficult for parents and children in smaller towns to attend therapy.
• Children's speech problems generally take a long time to correct, and speech therapy tends to be an expensive, long-term commitment. As such, speech therapy poses an enormous expense for parents who have to travel with their kids for hours to every appointment, and diverts precious time from their lives.
• Wait times for initial examinations are between six months to a year, while the wait for therapy is even longer. This poses a problem not only for parents and children, but the therapists themselves.
We came up with the concept for BaDaBum back in 2017 alongside speech therapy-rehabilitation center ABC. With a multidisciplinary team of experts, our goal was to build a digital platform that uses fun games to develop children's speech, language and related capabilities like graphomotorics, visual perception, attention, memory, learning letters, colors, numbers, and more.
During product development, user experience was our primary focus. Apart from work on the platform itself, we built an entire brand system with 3 unique characters named Ba, Da and Bum. And while they look like simple geometric shapes, each character has with its own unique identity. Like a group of good friends, together they guide kids through the BaDaBum world.
1. Parents can conduct a free self-assessment for their kids, then get in touch with experts to help their child as quickly as possible.
2. Preschool children can use the platform to prepare for school, treat communication disorders, or develop their speech and language skills, either independently or with their parents.
3. Speech pathologists can use the platform’s content in their daily work, and can also join to reach more children and parents.
Today, the BaDaBum app contains 35 fun online games and 80 printable leaflets. In addition to the free version, several subscriptions are available that unlock access to the entire content library and the ability to monitor the activities of one or more kids.
• From launch to date, BaDaBum has garnered 16,490 users
• Over 2471 parents from 24 Croatian cities and 19 countries have conducted a self-assessment for their kids
• Over 1310 users have subscribed to BaDaBum's educational speech therapy newsletter
"My daughter Mara is fascinated by BaDaBum’s digital content. It’s the reason why she doesn't feel like she's learning, but playing. She doesn't see it as a daunting homework assignment the way she does with the exercises from ordinary speech therapy. My husband and I are always present while she solves puzzles on the app, and we help her with the ones she can’t solve on her own. It’s visually very stimulating for her, the characters Ba, Da and Bum are interesting to her, and she remembers everything much better. She’s always excited to play BaDaBum, and we always aim for the recommended 30-45 minutes."
"What I love about BaDaBum is that it offers ready-made content and ideas that I, as a parent, can complete with my daughter, Eva. She starts school in the fall and it’s really important to me that she’s as well-prepared as possible for everything that awaits her. From conversations with other parents, I see that we all face with the same "problem," which is how to find useful content that’s engaging for kids. Especially in today's digital age, where they’re bombarded by screens that are nearly impossible to isolate them from. From the beginning, Eva was enthusiastic about the BaDaBum games. Given that she sees a speech therapist externally, the games that help develop phonological awareness helped us a lot - dividing words into syllables, recognizing the last sound in a word, and the like."
Arijana Vandžić Stanić