Behind the Scenes at Lingraphica's TEDx Wilmington Talk

Sep 15, 2013 | by Michele Hart-Henry

Twice a month individuals with aphasia and their caregivers gather at our office for the Lingraphica Aphasia User’s Group. Many times we see our friends eager to converse, but frustrated because it's difficult to do so. This experience is unforgettable, motivating, and inspiring. In fact, the interaction with our user’s group helped spark our interest in participating in the regional TEDx talk in Wilmington, Del. Little did we know that our CEO Andrew Gomory’s TEDx talk on aphasia would help hone an even bigger idea for the aphasia community.

STEP ONE – Defining Aphasia

As we gathered key messages and concepts we knew many in the audience would not know what aphasia is or the effects the condition has on those who acquire it. This meant that Andrew would need to focus on two things: defining aphasia and illustrating the challenges associated with the disorder. With more than one million people currently living with aphasia, there were many stories from which to draw inspiration.

STEP TWO – Explaining Speech Therapy

Lingraphica’s years of research show that speech therapy is a vital component to helping adults with aphasia recover their language skills. However, more often than not, a once-a-week visit to see a speech-language pathologist is not enough to help a patient with aphasia gain significant momentum in their recovery. Current resources for individuals with aphasia are also limited (there are only 12 stand-alone aphasia centers in the United States and very limited awareness for the disorder).

Being advocates for the aphasia community, we know that on-going, rigorous speech therapy is the key to recovery. Armed with these facts and the knowledge that our team is always working on new ideas around the future of speech therapy, Andrew spoke about our plans for online speech therapy. After all, we know that with the right resources, people with aphasia can demonstrate continuous improvement over a lifetime. As the talk shaped up, we could see that it would allow us to share our vision for the future-state of speech therapy.

STEP THREE – Time for TEDx

After a lot of hard work and many practice rounds, the day of the TEDx talk was upon us. Andrew and I traveled to Wilmington, where he was scheduled to speak. Once he was introduced, he walked onto the stage and gave a poignant, yet inspirational talk. For many in the audience, this was the first time learning of a condition called aphasia. We certainly accomplished our goal of raising awareness but, more importantly, Andrew set the stage for what will become a new chapter in the lives of those with aphasia with the following line…

"Through technology and technology on the Internet, we can now give people [with aphasia] the treatment and therapy they need for a lifetime of progress." -Andrew Gomory, CEO, Lingraphica

Through the TEDx process, we were able to give voice to the idea of a virtual aphasia center offering both therapy and community, while giving hope to the one million Americans that struggle with the condition. Since giving the talk, Andrew and our team have been hard at work on a project that will truly transform the way speech therapy is delivered.

The TEDx Experience

Watch Andrew Gomory's TEDx Wilmington Talk!