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Meet Shilpa Shamapant of Austin Speech Labs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shilpa Shamapant.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I always thought once I learn how to talk, read and write it would stay with me forever. Well, this was soon busted when I met a stroke survivor. I could not believe an adult who could speak, read and write normally all of a sudden without any warning lost it all.

Moreover, he did not even have any time to talk to this family or even plan an aftermath to handle the impact of his stroke. This was devastating to watch not only the stroke survivor that was learning to talk again but to also watch the caregiver and his family learning to communicate with him and more importantly run the family that had four young children. While they were going through all these I had to discharge the stroke survivor as he had exhausted his visits and could not receive any more therapy even though I knew you could not function in the society.

Communication is a basic human need that is vital to live as a human being and defines and differentiates us from all organisms… This is what motivated me and my partner to start Austin Speech Labs as a nonprofit. I wanted an organization and provide long-term intensive speech therapy for as long as a stroke survivor needs it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I started the organization I thought all I needed was a place to provide services. Little did I know I needed to start from scratch.

A few of my exciting challenges were:
1. Educating the community about strokes, stroke recovery and how important communication is for us as human beings had to be done along with providing much-needed services for stroke survivors.
2. Educating people on the need for low-cost services as stroke survivors need therapy for a long number of years
3. Facilitating communication between caregivers and stroke survivors.
4. Learning that caregivers are an important part of recovery as most of the recovery happens away from therapy.
5. Most importantly I needed to learn how to run an organization and raise money to serve the mission.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Austin Speech Labs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Austin Speech Labs is a nonprofit dedicated to providing intensive speech, language, music and cognitive therapy for stroke survivors and improve quality of life for stroke survivors and their caregivers. We are a nonprofit that in addition to providing therapy educate and train undergraduate and graduate students so they can understand stroke recovery and stroke prevention. We also collaborate with stroke experts to develop an innovative treatment to advance the field of speech therapy.

I am very proud of stroke survivors for their perseverance, motivation and ability to handle hardship. I am so inspired by my stroke survivors grit. I enjoy being surrounded by my passionate team that is willing to think outside of the box to provide the best therapy and a place that stroke survivors can learn to relax and work on their skills a their pace.

Austin Speech Labs is unique as we provide low cost affordable speech and music therapy for as long as a stroke survivor needs it. We offer teletherapy so transportation or mobility does not stop someone from receiving therapy. We offer integrated therapy with nursing students, medical students, medical residents and speech therapists working together so everyone learns to interact and understand stroke recovery.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I hope every stroke survivor has an opportunity to receive therapy for as long as they need it. I feel learning never stops, it just happens at a different pace for each person. I am hoping with collaboration with all experts we can find treatment for stroke survivors so they can learn to walk, talk, read and write again sooner. Can’t wait for that day to happen.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shelley Adair, Elle, Mayra Mata, Ashley Marnell, Bri Rocha and the entire Austin Speech Labs team

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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