Tell us about your career so far
I qualified as a SLT at Birmingham City University and shortly after started working as a paediatric therapist in Sandwell. As part of this role I worked within community clinics, mainstream schools and special schools. With a specific interest working alongside disabled people I decided to take an active role in challenging social injustice and started working as a project officer for a rights-based third sector organisation. As part of this role I have been fortunate enough to lead my own project connecting young disabled people into their community.
What is your favourite client group/ type of speech & language difficulty to work with and why?
I enjoy working with young people of all ages who do not use words to communicate. It is so rewarding to be able to work alongside these people to find a way to communicate and access the world around them.
My favourite resource must be my aided language displays (Also referred to as Communication boards). A page of topic specific symbols that can be used to begin conversations with people who do not use words to communicate, support children who are anxious about using their voice, work on vocabulary and develop sentence structure! There are loads of free examples on the ACE website.
Best advice you could give to worried parent of language delayed child
Stick with the advice you receive, ask as many questions as you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for more support!
Best advice you would give to anyone considering speech & Language therapy as a career
Volunteer first. There are so many volunteer opportunities available working with people who have difficulties communicating which you can find on ‘Do-it.org’. This real world experience will help you develop a greater understanding of the people we work with as well as start to develop some early therapeutic skills.
Although this is not a single anecdote, I always enjoy giving young people who do not use words the access to language they are motivated by and watching how they use it! ‘You smell!’ is always very popular!
Biggest challenge in the job
Dealing with the cuts in budget across the health service and within local authorities. Vital community services continue to disappear meaning many young people do not have access to services they need! It is for this reason it is wonderful to be working with Soundswell being able to support these children to achieve their full potential