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Mila is rehabilitating children with neurodevelopmental disorders through music

With Mila-Learn, the start-up is using musical exercises to improve care for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. 

13 Oct 2021

Dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADD (attention deficit disorders with or without hyperactivity) affect 7 million people in France. Unfortunately, families must wait on average between 1 and 3 years to obtain an initial assessment appointment with a professional.  

Mila tries therefore to supplement this care by offering a rehabilitation tool using a tablet for children with dyslexia. This co-called “serious” game is based on rhythm exercises. It could be offered at home while the child is on a waiting list, but also afterwards, when the child is being treated by a speech therapist. In practical terms, the child attends one or two speech therapy sessions a week, whereas professionals recommend 25 minutes of exercises every day. 

Promoting independence and self-esteem in children

The child interacts with the tablet. Depending on the instructions, he or she must sometimes sing, clap, touch the tablet rhythmically or shake it. The child is independent and sees these daily exercises as a game. Mila-Learn is specifically designed for children aged 7 to 11. 

“One of the major objectives of Mila is to improve the long-term follow-up of children. Technology offers news possibilities since it allows the development of remote training protocols.” François Vonthron, co-founder and CEO of Mila. 

In March 2020, the game was offered to 6,000 families that tested it and 1,000 healthcare professionals and patient associations who helped assess and improve it. Feedback showed that the children came back to the game themselves, over a period of a number of weeks. A clinical trial is under way, with approximately 160 children, to assess the effects of the game on children with dyslexia. 

There is an over-representation of learning disorders in children from disadvantaged social backgrounds. This is why, in France, Mila plans for its solution to be certified as a medical device in 2022 and in the medium term to be covered by health insurance. 

Mila is currently planning to enter the U.S. market. There is a clear interest in this home-based solution, offered in addition to therapy with a healthcare professional. In the context of the French Health Care NEXT Program, Mila will meet insurance companies and mutuals as well as schools and hospitals to present its solution. 

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