SpeechEasy : History
The first SpeechEasy device was sold in June 2001. Before then there was no such thing as an in-the-ear fluency device to help people who stutter.
Our patent for the then unnamed anti-stuttering device was issued in October, 1999 and Janus Development Group was established the next year to develop, manufacture and market the product. By 2001, SpeechEasy had a name and a handful of Speech Language Pathologist trained to provide our tiny electronic device. Sales started slowly, but SpeechEasy was in business.
2002 came around and some media was focusing some attention (albeit minor) on SpeechEasy. Good Morning America did a story about a young man who stutters, and featured him trying out a SpeechEasy. People magazine did a small story about the product, titled “Speaking Freely”, in September, and Seattle’s Komo 4 news produced a human interest story on a young underemployed attorney who was being held back by his disfluency. The media coverage was encouraging and the small Janus Development staff kept busy because of it.
Then in February 2003 Oprah Winfrey’s staff found us. SpeechEasy and one of its inventors were featured on her show, titled “Medical Miracles”. The “Oprah Effect”, hit hard and fast. Our small staff needed to expand quickly to handle our product’s new found “fame”. Montel Williams also had a show featuring a young mother who stutters later in that year, producing a similar wave of public interest for the product. All in all, 2003 was a very busy year for SpeechEasy and the Janus Development staff.
2004 found us recovering from the “Oprah effect” by adding more Speech Pathologists to distribute our product around the country. We held several trainings in Raleigh, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado throughout the year. We also started a SpeechEasy scholarship fund in the memory of Sean Anderson, a SpeechEasy user that passed away. Sean was very fond of his SpeechEasy, and wanted other kids to benefit from the fluency that it provided him. With the help of his mother we provided six children with SpeechEasy devices.
Around the beginning of 2005 we started focusing on gathering solid efficacy research on the SpeechEasy device. So far efficacy studies have started at three major universities—Auburn, University of Florida and Tulane University. The University of Florida study should be published soon.
In late 2007 our Comfort Fit device was introduced. The Comfort Fit solved several key issues users found with the initial in-the-ear models, that being background noise and comfort. We added our 0% Finance Plans so clients can have another choice in funding a SpeechEasy purchase in 2013.
In 2010 we purchased Fluency Coach, a fluency software company. Fluency Coach had been sold online on a subscription basis but we decided to improve it and provide it at no charge. Due to Fluency Coach more people and SLP’s have become familiar with the choral speech effect found in SpeechEasy.
It’s been a long and exciting road for us here at Janus Development Group. We have learned along the way and expanded our staff to better serve our customers and Speech Pathologists. Today, SpeechEasy has undergone another product improvement we call SpeechEasy V Series. This advancement will help us continue to provide “the smallest and most effective fluency device in the world”.