GRIT - Ed.05 - Magazine - Page 15
Developmental speech-language disorders affect around 10% of children regardless of their language background.
In other words, 1 out of 10 Canadian
children has a speech-language disorder but the awareness about these conditions is low. These problems are often
misdiagnosed due to the complexity
and overlapping with other neurodevelopmental problems like autism. Around
1/3 of children are getting a misdiagnosis and this number is even higher in
the multilingual population. So, it becomes more important for a multilingual society like Canada to take these
developmental problems seriously and
In conversation with Selçuk Guven;
Founder of LinguAI; Next AI, 2020
’m the Founder and CEO of LinguAI where we provide AI-based diagnosis and treatment solutions for
children with speech and language disorders from
different language backgrounds. I bring more than
10 years of clinical and research expertise into this market. I also work as an assistant professor at the University of Montreal in the School of Speech-Language
Pathology and Audiology where my research focuses
on bringing more technologies like this.
Several years ago, I came across an article in the
The Globe and Mail stating that Canadian children
have to wait at least 6-8 months for a service from a
Speech-Language Pathologist. I found this so unfair
and it launched my path to becoming an entrepreneur.
Early diagnosis and intervention is crucial for these
children and while 6-8 months may not be that long for
an adult, it can cause a 3-year-old to miss all the positive impacts of early intervention. So, I decided to work
on an assistive diagnostic technology that will ease the
process and at the same time provide accurate results
which could be used both by parents and clinicians.
I’ve worked with children and their parents for years.
I was aware of the gaps and needs in this market, and
WHAT LEARNINGS FROM YOUR
GLOBAL EDUCATION HAVE YOU
BROUGHT BACK TO CANADA?
therefore wanted my research findings to be translated
into useful tools and technologies and touch the lives of
people who need them.
practices as well. Every Canadian who speaks either
English or French will be able to use this tool to get fast
and accurate results as well as information regarding
the further steps for their child.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
HOW DOES LINGUAI’S TECH HELP CANADIANS?
LinguAI offers clinicians and parents an assistive technology that uses voice recognition for abnormal speech
and a machine learning classification algorithm to find
out if it’s a disorder or not. All you need to do is record the person using any device and upload it into our
secure platform for immediate results. Think of SIRI or
Alexa but for people with speech-language disorders.
Our tech also allows users to monitor the development, track the progress and use it for therapeutic
Although I’ve studied and worked in
many different countries like the US, Israel, Turkey, Germany, I never found such
a developed and supportive AI ecosystem in innovation and entrepreneurship.
I believe that here in Canada and specifically in Montreal,
it was the right place and the right time for me to become
WHAT SHOULD CANADIANS KNOW ABOUT SPEECH
AND LANGUAGE DISORDERS?
Speech and language disorders are hidden and complex cognitive problems. With diagnosis and intervention these children show significant improvement and
can catch up to their peers. Please take these problems
more seriously. Instead of the "wait and see” approach,
consult a speech and language pathologist or use
our online platform to get a fast and accurate answer
whether your child has a speech and language disorder.
LinguAI is currently in the beta-testing phase and
we’re partnered up with St. Justine Hospital in Montreal to test our product. Our goal is to release the
product this summer into the Canadian market and
we want all parents who have a suspicion about their
children's speech-language development to use it.
Also, we aim to grow our team soon and will hire more
people with both technical and business backgrounds.