The Journey to Success!
Success can be anything, big or small it just represents achieving a goal. As a Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) student, I am relatively new to all aspects of this career – the challenges and the rewards! As students we are imminentely exposed to the academic and theoretical sides but is that the whole key to being a good SLT? I’ve learned half the battle faced is the development of a rapport between SLTs and their service users. This leads to trust, a cooperative environment and as a result… Progress!
Working with adults with learning disabilities you are often faced with additional physical, social and psychological difficulties. I have found the focus often emphasises and supports total communication (such as mannerisms, sign and body language) rather than speech and language. After all, the aim is to improve quality of life to the best of your ability.
Another key role SLTs play in improving the lives of their service users is by creating accessible information for their use and benefit. Through the Learning Disability Alliance (LDA) I have had the opportunity to create simplified question cards to describe and explain changes in laws and benefits, which are directly applicable to service users. Surprisingly, there seemed to be confusion and miscommunication that had lead to these service users appearing misinformed of these laws and their rights to vote: potentially changing these laws. However, it was wonderful to meet these individuals and see the accessible information being put to good use.
I participated in a one day event called ‘your day your say’ with a north west charity. This was a social event to bring together carers, trustees and of course the service user themselves! The event incorporated music therapy, signing, multi-sensory sensory storytelling and an introduction into using technology for communication (particularly for the benefit of communication passports). It was another opportunity to get to know the people providing speech and language therapy, families and support staff and yet again see the many people with learning disabilities who rely and thrive due to the support and services they provide!