Students raise voices in support of speech therapy

Students from the Speech and Language Sciences department got involved with a campaign, organised by the Newcastle University Speech Therapy Society between 13 and 15 April, looking to increase awareness of Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) in Newcastle University.

The students ran an information stall outside the Students’ Union, encouraging students to use a range of communication methods (signing, writing, gesture) to request a free cake and enticing people to try a free drink with a twist, where thickener had been added to increase the fluid’s consistency, which is commonly used in the management of individuals with swallowing difficulties.

The society also hosted a pub quiz and silent auction, attended by nearly 100 people for the chance to win a chocolate hamper. Items donated by local companies were auctioned throughout the night. The quiz raised £255 for the Stroke Association.

The campaign is part of a national push called Raising Voice. Its aim is to demolish stereotypes of SLT and provide a more realistic view into speech and language therapists’ work.

As a focal point of the Speech Therapy Society’s campaign, a public demonstration was organised on 16 April. Operating under the Giving Voice tagline – “Speech and language therapy transforms lives” – bystanders on Northumberland Street were engaged, first by a student, wandering around and trying to shout without making any sound, and afterwards by members of the society and campaign volunteers with facts, quotes, and statistics about SLT. The demonstration  drew the attention of the public to speech and language therapy.

2.5 million people in the UK have speech, language and communication difficulties. SLTs work with people with a range of conditions ranging from dementia to Parkinson’s Disease and Cerebral Palsy to Stroke.

Speech and language therapists work with individuals who stammer, who have no speech, who do not understand spoken words, who have difficulties swallowing, and who simply cannot communicate at all.

The Speech Therapy Society commitee considers the campaign a huge and overwhelming success.

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