Scientific breakthroughs proceed at an exponential and thankfully not a gradual pace. That's because the greater access we have to more complex technology, when used correctly allows us to do things even more and more amazing every day.
Up until recently, fully paralyzed individuals were unable to speak. They were trapped, inside their own bodies, completely unable to communicate with the outside world, left only with their own thoughts, unable to show any signs of comprehension or recognition to those around them.
Sadly, this results in many paralyzed individuals from falling to the side of the road so-to-speak as people wouldn't really want to spend time with someone who can only listen and not contribute to a conversation.