Startup Stories: Junganew: A Herd of Sounds

Junganew: A Herd of Sounds

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
Junganew: A Herd of Sounds is the first in a series of sound acquisition apps for children 2-6. Junganew, a land where sounds are represented by characters and their habitats, is a strategy based program carefully designed and intended to help children along a journey of developing a healthy interest in:
*Sound Acquisition
*Phonemic Awareness
*Phonological Awareness
*Expansion of Vocabulary
*Language Development
*Pre-Academic and Academic Skills
*Listening Skills/Auditory Discrimination Skills
*Turn Taking Skills
*Pragmatic Skills

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
I have been a practicing Speech Language Pathologist for the past 18 years. While I have two children of my own, the children that I help have become an extension of my family. Often, I see children who are reluctant to speak because they are aware that they are conveying their message unintelligibly. They begin to lose their confidence and stop feeling worthy enough to express their thoughts and opinions with others. In the clinical setting, I developed a practice where the children I service begin to associate themselves with a character, and the way the character produces sounds and words. This takes the pressure off because the awareness is no longer on the child, but rather on the character. I have first hand seen drastic improvements in children, as they look forward to learning their sounds in a fun new way. So, I thought…how can I help the masses of children? How can I be a part of helping children feel safe and empowered in a learning environment? All children, all people are worthy, and so this is the theme throughout each app.
And so, driving on the highway on my way to work, the idea came to me. I pulled over, wrote my story, and never looked back.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
The caseloads in the school system for speech therapy services has been exasperating to say the least. State law requires that in order to receive services, there must be an academic and/or social impact on learning. Many teams are deeming articulation therapy to be unnecessary for services, as it is necessary to leave room in the schedule for the child who faces severe challenges. Yet I ask…doesn’t the use of phonemes and phonological awareness impact early literacy? Doesn’t a child who fears expressing himself impact social skills for participating in the classroom? There is a space for all types of therapies for all types of children. The Junganew series of apps can facilitate the child on his/her own or alongside a caretaker to experience a therapeutic setting for speech and language therapy in their own home. The first app focuses solely on the sound of /s/. This is the most commonly erred sound in the English language. Many children err the /s/ sound by producing a /th/ sound in its place. We demonstrate a direct comparison to help children monitor their success. The next app will focus on teaching the /th/ sound so that we continue our journey; whereby the student in one app becomes the teacher in the next app. This will continue until all the sounds in the English language are achieved.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been two-fold; balancing a family and a dream and a financial sacrifice.

Creating and producing this app has taken quite a bit of my time. I began this journey five years ago, having written this story as a book. It has evolved into an app and a product I am extremely proud of, yet I had to miss some cheer games and swim meets. Sometimes, I had to put work on hold when there were midterms and finals.

I have always worked around my children’s schedule in facilities such as the school system, early intervention, sensory gyms, and private practice. In order to achieve this dream, I have had to decrease my work hours in order to dedicate my time to this passion. It has been a financial challenge.

Fortunately,, I have a wonderful husband who has helped me tremendously with our children. When I have a business meeting, he leaves work early to help out with the girls. He has worked doubly hard and has supported my “lack of financial contribution” to the household because he wants my dreams to come to pass as much as I do. Also, I have a wonderful team with whom I work. They define the word “team” in its purest essence. They are the reason I am able to balance my family and my dream. I am forever grateful!

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve is giving me the chance to tell my story and share the impact my project can make on families and their children. I was inspired by an article I read about Warner’s Corner Toys. I felt we had similar stories and are trying to help a similar audience. Perhaps on day she and I can collaborate. Project Eve seems to have a community of people who are like minded and that is encouraging.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
Parents and teachers of children with speech and language delays or disorders want help. They deserve help! They need help with fun techniques to help their children in a familiar and empowering environment.

Company: Junganew, LLC


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