Diana Hancock, Co-Founder, SPEAK MODalities

My goal was to present a 5-minute pitch at the Indiana Conference for Women Dolphin Tank pitch event. I knew I had to condense my thoughts creatively, yet present the business coherently, and images of the Shark Tank’s piercing episodes danced through my head. Fortunately, Kristen Cooper and Polina Feldman of the Startup Ladies networking group in Indianapolis stepped in. They presented the Dolphin Tank event as a chance to network and spread the message about the company I co-founded, SPEAK MODalities, while simultaneously bringing out my inner public speaking skills. Be proud and speak from the heart about what makes your company special and therefore competitive… Why don’t you try pitching to the group right now?! Tutoring by the men and women at the Startup Study Halls and feedback from the other contestants honed my message into a credible pitch that began with a story of persuasion. At the Dolphin Tank I succeeded in telling the SPEAK MODalities narrative: the creation of tablet applications to aid in natural language development, improve social skills and provide entertainment to change the lives of children afflicted by autism and other language disorders. I left the Dolphin Tank with the most powerful of thoughts, “I have a company to build.” We subsequently won 2nd place at the regional InnovateHer competition, received funding from the Purdue Emerging Innovations fund to accelerate commercialization efforts, and released the Android version of our initial application, SPEAKall!.

SPEAK MODalities was formed to bring to the world the breakthrough work of Dr. Oliver Wendt, Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, and Special Education, director of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) research lab at Purdue University. Dr. Wendt’s pioneering work provides evidence based methods and learning aids to improve the quality of communication for Autistic and individual impacted by language disabilities or delayed speech development. Dr. Wendt’s work has integrated leading science with tablet (iPad) technology to provide individuals a program with demonstrated outcomes. Visit www.speakmod.com for more information.

SPEAKall! is a tablet AAC app differentiated with a special feature set for children with autism spectrum and developmental disorders.

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