Today we’d like to introduce you to Avivit Ben-Aharon.
Avivit, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As Founder and Clinical Director of Gr8 Speech Inc., I know personally how speech therapy can open doors and change lives.
But in more than a decade of work as a speech therapist, I have seen countless situations where people could not access the therapeutic services they needed and for so many different reasons. Some struggled with transportation or had to cancel because of inclement weather conditions. Others found it difficult juggling the needs of the family and work schedule. Schools often were challenged to provide tailored services to a diverse student population.
I knew there had to be a better way.
As I searched for a solution, I realized that technological innovations were poised to completely transform the profession. With TeleSpeech, the transformation is complete. There are so many advantages. Now, a grandmother in Chicago, who suffered a stroke, can connect online with a speech therapist from Houston, while her daughter in Cleveland monitors the session. Parents no longer have to leave work early or bring the entire family to a speech therapy session.
Instead, they can prepare dinner while the child is working with the therapist, in the comfort of their home. A therapist who moves out of town can continue to provide services to the same clients. Equally as important, in a class of 15 students with varying disabilities, each child can work individually with a therapist trained to address a specific need. HIPPA compliant, secure, personally tailored, highly effective therapy is now accessible, affordable, and convenient for children, teens, adults and seniors.
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?
The initial struggle was all about timing. I began exploring the concept of TeleSpeech in 2009 but the technology was not available to support the interactive HIPPA-compliant process I needed.
Once I overcame that hurdle, the next challenge was convincing the public of the advantages of TeleSpeech. Much like online banking, the public was slow to embrace the concept that this innovative approach to speech therapy is often a better model than the traditional one.
Our major obstacle currently is insurance coverage. Most insurance companies do not recognize the cost-effectiveness of TeleSpeech and will not cover it. Advocacy and education are needed to push this cause forward and fill in the gaps.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gr8 Speech story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the founder and clinical director of Gr8 Speech Inc., an innovative online speech therapy solution. Gr8 Speech utilizes video conferencing technology to provide live, interactive, highly individualized services worldwide.
It’s been a long fascinating journey from clinical speech pathologist to entrepreneur. It was in 2009 when I was sitting in the therapy waiting room with a mom of four who was struggling to keep three children busy while the oldest was receiving services that I identified the need for TeleSpeech. But the technology required to support the platform did not materialize until 2012. In 2013, I provided services to my first paying client and initially was the sole provider of clinical services.
Today Gr8 Speech has grown to include 20 clinicians, licensed in 24 states, offering easy to access services in multiple languages for children and adults. Though I am responsible for all aspects of the Gr8 Speech operation, I still make it my business to keep a small caseload of clients. Over the course of my career, I have serviced pediatric and adult patients with various speech, language, fluency, and voice disorders. Some of my proudest moments have included treating pre-school aged children with autism, language, and processing disorders and helping them reach their maximum potential and this is generally the type of client I continue to serve.
This hands-on clinical approach allows me to keep my therapeutic skills current and experience firsthand the challenges and successes along with my therapists. I also connect with Gr8 Speech clients in the process of matching them up to the therapist who best meets their needs. This process creates an environment of trust and security for my clients as well as an appreciation for the individual skills and talents of each of my therapists.
What sets you apart from others?
There are a number of companies nationwide that provide similar TeleSpeech services. What sets Gr8 Speech apart from the competition is that it is owned and managed by a licensed speech and language pathologist. What that means for the client is clinical issues are the focus, an influential and strategic move that directly benefits the client.
What were you like growing up? Personality wise, interest wise, etc.
I grew up in a beautiful small village in the Northern part of Israel and immigrated to the United States at age 14, just before I started eighth grade. I didn’t speak a word of English so it was a bumpy start. But I was very determined to master the language and knew it was the key to making friends and adapting to life outside Israel.
That experience was truly impactful and I believe it was one of the main reasons I chose to be a speech therapist and help others communicate. I have always loved helping others and working with children but wanted a career which would allow me time to spend with my own four boys. Running Gr8 Speech is more than a full-time job, but as a business owner, I have the flexibility to work around my children’s schedule. And in my free time, I love making pottery and doing ceramics.
- Website: www.gr8speech.com
- Phone: 9542478757
- Email: email@example.com