Campaign Achievements 2014
Students from UCL’s Giving Voice Society have spent the term raising awareness of the role of SLTs. Amongst other activity, they sold doughnuts to students on campus, explaining the role of speech therapists and the role they do to help people with communication difficulties.
Jane Ball, a Speech and Language Therapist from the Midlands used her position as the Chair of the guild of enamellers to set the theme for this year’s conference. Various enamelled pieces of art representing what ‘communication’ means to the members of the Guild of Enamellers were on display at their annual conference and exhibition in April at Leicester University. These can be viewed in full at www.guildofenamellers.org.uk. Enamelled art work is created by fusing glass onto metal.
Some of the pieces were inspired by personal experience of family members affected by communication difficulties such as the Heinz ‘talking cans’ created by Jill Leventon who stated: “We (as a family) owe a great deal to Speech Therapy”.
The winner of the ‘communication’ themed award, as voted by those present at conference, was Jane Sheppard with her five ways of saying ‘Hello’ representing Braille, BSL fingerspelling, Makaton signing, Morse code and Semaphore.
‘Communication’ was interpreted in many different ways but all those exhibiting agreed that communication is an important part of humanity. Joan Bolton-King wrote “The extreme frustration of not being understood might be expressed by a scream (see her enamelled piece ‘The Scream Answered’). Once [these difficulties are] understood and the horrors overcome often brings smiles all round. Dealing with [communication problems] involves many personal and technical skills and sometimes with translation where different languages are spoken. Anyone with a problem in speaking is at a huge disadvantage and needs help. This is most likely to succeed where a close personal understanding is established between the sufferers and those around them; what is needed is the kind of love which embodies real concern and a sympathetic understanding of their plight. To me, the sort of help given by speech and language therapists could also well be of use in many international contexts”.
Increasing public awareness of the importance of communication, the difficulties people can experience with this and feeding issues and the positive impact Speech and Language Therapists can have is a large part of what the Giving Voice campaign aims to achieve. Bringing this theme to the Guild of Enameller’s exhibition at conference has given cause for thought and led to discussion amongst the members.
Speech and Language Therapists from Whittington Health celebrated the work of speech and language therapists during their Communication Fortnight. Scottish Rugby captain, Kelly Brown, came to the Michael Palin Centre to talk to children about his stammer. One of the children attending the centre said:
“Thanks for coming to see us and teaching us lots of lessons about how to deal with the stammer. I learnt that people who stammer can go far.”
The speech and language therapy team from Northwick Park Hospital have been raising awareness of their work on World Autism Awareness day. They produced resources for local schools to help them raise awareness of the needs of pupils with autism, as well as advertising the day on all hospital screen savers.
They also produced resources to celebrate the EU speech and language therapy day, organising a bilingualism week and sharing advice on bilingualism with local schools. Local schools also produced Giving Voice speech bubbles in different languages.
Speech and Language Therapists from the Chesterfield Royal Hospital celebrated World Voice Day by raising awareness of their work.
Their awareness raising video, Voice Matters, shows the work that speech and language therapists do with patients with voice disorders. View it below.
The Sheffield Giving Voice choir, Giving Voices, performed at the University of Sheffield. Watch thier perfomance on their youtube channel.
Giving Voices is a choir made up of SALT staff from the three NHS services in Sheffield, independent therapists, and staff and students from the University of Sheffield Human Communication Sciences Department.
Sian Meadows, a speech and Language Therapy student, ran the Fleet half maraton in her Giving Voice tshirt to raise awareness of speech and language therapy. She ran the half marathon in 2 Hours 2 minutes and raised £250 for the stroke association.
A group of speech and language therapists from Worcester came up with the idea of Worcestershire ‘Question Time’ – a competition in which children would be asked to think of an original and well-formed question to ask their local MP. They contacted five local MPs who were willing to attend an awards ceremony at each school to give the child with the winning entry the opportunity to ask their question. They were delighted with the response not only from the schools but also from the MPs.
The overall winner was eight-year-old Jack Jarrett, who attends Tenacres First School in Redditch. His question was, “How do the Government collect census information from the homeless and travelling communities?”
At each award ceremony, the MP posed for the local press wearing a Giving Voice badge. These ceremonies also gave us an opportunity to present each MP with a Giving Voice information leaflet and discuss the difference the service can make to the lives of all children who attend Worcestershire schools.
Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, was so impressed with our campaign that he has offered to help arrange a trip to the House of Commons for each winning child and has promised to visit one of our preschool ‘Talking Walk In’ sessions later in the year.
SLT students at Strathclyde University put on a series of awareness raising events on campus including participating in European day of SLT. Teaching students were invited along to browse a range of stalls with information on communication disorders, interactive activities and to find out more about the role of SLTs.
Stalls included what is communication, language development, difficulties children may have in school and general information on communication difficulties. The event finished with the opportunity of tea and cake, watching a video and completing a speech bubble on the communication tree.
As part of the University of Manchester’s Giving Voice campaign, two fourth year students took the Giving Voice message to the younger generation. Jen Gibson used her role as a volunteer Rainbow leader to teach the members different ways they can communicate with each other. Rainbows are aged 5-7 years old and are the youngest members of the Girl Guides.
The evening’s activities included communication games which encouraged the girls to think about how they could describe pictures so their friends cold guess. This helped them identify with people who might have word finding difficulties. The next activity involved fellow student Kirsty Meehan using her British Sign Language skills to teach the girls some signs. They really enjoyed learning them and picked them up really quickly, especially the signs for chocolate and cake!
At the end of the session the Rainbows all filled out speech bubbles saying why communication is important to them. Some of the phrases written in the speech bubbles included: ‘I like to talk to my friends when playing’, ‘It is fun to use sign language, people should use sign language more’, ‘communication is a good way to ask my Mum for strawberries’ and even ‘I like talking’.
To see more pictures, click here.
Students, staff and service users in Leicester’s De Montfort University staged a silent flash mob to raise awareness of communication difficulties.
Speech and language therapists from Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) took part in the national campaign to celebrate Giving Voice at Darent Valley Hospital last week.
The team of specialists, who are based at the hospital, invited members of the multidisciplinary team, patients and their families to find out more about how speech and language therapists help people to regain vital communication and swallowing skills following illness or surgery such as strokes and brain injuries.
Each year the speech and language therapy team at Darent Valley Hospital help nearly 2,500 people from Dartford, Gravesham and the surrounding areas to develop and regain vital communication and swallowing skills. So they took the opportunity to celebrate the work being done by dedicating an entire week to raising awareness.
The week consisted of the following events; two days of raising awareness on the hospital wards and finding out exactly what our colleagues believe our role as part of the MDT is, two informal training afternoons for families/ caregivers of swallowing, speech, language and communication needs and a day of raising public awareness in the hospital foyer. The week was a great success and it was in fact pleasantly surprising to discover how positively the role of Speech and Language Therapy was regarded in the local community.
Students from the University of East Anglia (UEA) held a week of Giving Voice activities including mass tweeting, giving other students thicken drinks an creating this display.