Online speech development platform Daisy Plays targets children’s first words

Service designed for parents of babies from their early days up until the age of three

A new Irish-founded speech development platform is aiming to give parents the tools to help young children develop their speech and language skills.

Daisy Plays, which was devised by Irish speech therapist Hannah O’Driscoll, teaches parents tools and techniques employed by therapists to encourage language development. It is designed for babies from their early days until the age of three, through everyday activities rather than using flashcards or other aids.

“I was seeing the same type kind of presentation constantly coming to me, where it’s just someone who might be a little bit delayed or parents who aren’t sure how to actually speak to their children with the intent of building their communication,” she said. “I thought there was something there, if we could really share my knowledge and expertise, and empower parents before they need to get to the therapy level.”

The courses consist of short but informative videos, along with an audio version of the course, cheat sheets and checklists for milestones and key words.


Keeping the child’s attention is key to the process, and the system has been designed to do that, Ms O’Driscoll said.

“A child’s curiosity and attention really builds during playtime, and so if you can get their attention, that’s when then they start looking at your facial expressions. That’s when they start copying your sounds. That’s when you can really start modelling words,” she said. “That’s why we really wanted to focus this around play. We play with our kids every day, but we can use evidence-based research. Everything I’m doing is what I do in a clinic, but it’s information that’s actually really easy to digest and easy for parents to adopt.”

The company is hoping to emulate the success of infant formula start-up Bobbie, which was cofounded by Irish woman Laura Modi and raised $50 million earlier this year.

Ms O’Driscoll is based in the US, where she lives with her husband, Brendan; and daughter, Daisy. The system is designed for any English-speaking market, targeting parents in Ireland, the UK and the US. There is also the opportunity to expand the system further to include toys, books and other aids to help language development in the future.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist