Please Help Give the Gift of Communication

Can you imagine not being able to talk? How would you communicate with your loved ones, friends, and co-workers? How would you communicate even your most basic needs?

The ability to talk is something we all take for granted. But for those who have lost this ability due to a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, a disease such as ALS or Parkinson’s, aphasia due to cognitive decline such as that afflicting Bruce Willis, or for any other reason, the impact can be devastating.

And the impact isn’t limited to just the person who has lost their speech. Family life is also disrupted as loved ones—who want so badly to help--often suffer from frustration and feelings of overwhelm and powerlessness.

Hi. I’m Gina Baldwin, a Speech Language Pathologist from St. Louis, Missouri. My passion is helping people with their speech and communication challenges.

Throughout my career, I’ve created hundreds of speech picture boards and used numerous technological devices designed to help people living with speech and communication impairments to communicate more effectively.

Many of the high-tech devices were too complicated to use and often expensive. After an exhaustive search, I realized that the ideal product for my clients simply didn’t exist. And in today’s age of technological wonders, I found that unacceptable.

That’s when I drew on my experience to design, create, and self-fund a speaking app called APP2Speak.

It’s photo-based and easy-to-use. It’s fully customizable, so the user can easily add their own photos or record a familiar voice for personalization. But most importantly, by simply touching a photo, the user can communicate a short phrase, a complete sentence, or even a complex story.
As you can imagine, in my work as a Speech Language Pathologist, I hear many tragic stories—people who have had strokes, brain injuries, or surgeries that have affected their lives in profound ways.

To give you a sense of the variety of reasons people might need help from an app like APP2Speak, here are just a few recent inquiries from our website:

“I had a laryngectomy (due to cancer) and cannot speak anymore. I’ve been trying prosthetic voices, but none work for me.”

“My mother recently had a stroke and it caused severe issues with her speech and communication. It’s extremely frustrating for her.”

There’s no doubt about it. The people I meet through my work—like those quoted above—face difficult challenges in trying to communicate for themselves (if they’re the one who has lost their speech) or (for family members) in trying to communicate with a loved one who has lost their ability to speak.

As the creator of APP2Speak, I’m very proud that I’ve been able to provide a speech app for people who are nonverbal around the world (we now have users in 13 countries) to help them better communicate with their loved ones.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone discover that, by using the app, they can once again communicate with those around them. You should see their eyes light up!

For example, a few years ago, St. Louis police officer Gary Glasby was in his patrol car when a pickup truck hit him at high speed, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. He couldn’t walk for four months. He also lost his ability to communicate because his vocal cords were paralyzed.

A St. Louis TV reporter who had done a story about officer Glasby connected me with him. In a very short time, he was using the app to communicate in ways he hadn’t been able to do since the accident. He was so excited and appreciative when I demonstrated the app for him!

(Check out the video of the follow-up story the TV station did on officer Glasby to see how APP2Speak changed his life.)

So, that’s the backstory of APP2Speak, what it does, and why I created it.

But you may be wondering, why am I using GoFundMe to try to raise money?

Well, with my husband’s total support, we’ve been able to self-fund APP2Speak for the past 8 years, but it has become harder and harder.

In fact, with today’s runaway inflation, it has become almost impossible to continue providing this wonderful product (my husband sometimes tells me, “Honey, you have a very expensive hobby”).

So, we’re asking for your donation today to help with the skyrocketing costs of marketing and for making further improvements to the app.

We need funds to defray the cost of development, travel to various educational conferences for assistive technology, where we demonstrate the app. We also need money for marketing, ads, social media marketing, and consultants to help with the website. All of these things are necessary to spread the word about this life-changing technology—and, believe me, these costs add up!

Will you please help me keep APP2Speak speaking app going so I can continue to help people like officer Glasby and the thousands of others who have benefited from the app?

Thank you very much for your support. I sincerely appreciate your help.

Even a small donation would help—whatever you can spare.


Gina Baldwin
Affton, MO

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