Giving Voice

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

When the pressure changes...

This morning I found myself back in the King George VI Building at Newcastle University (where my Giving Voice endeavors started just over a year ago!) I was there to attend a session with Ele and Creek from RCSLT. This was a good opportunity to share some of my Giving Voice experiences with some final year students.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to talk! They also know that I love to talk about Giving Voice!  (I’m not such a fan of talking in front of large audiences but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!)

I prepared what I was going to say over the weekend and practised in front of an audience of 8 on Sunday evening (my lovely family!). I was pleased at how interested they seemed to be (especially my 6-year-old niece, who looked enthralled!) I didn’t know which parts of my involvement in Giving Voice would be most relevant to the final year students, but hopefully something was interesting/useful. I was pleased that I also got some new Giving Voice highlighters, which  look forward to giving away in my Giving Voice activities this year!

I was looking forward to presenting this morning, but once I got into the lecture theatre the butterflies started to form in my tummy! (It made me appreciate the effort of every single one of my lecturers throughout my four years at uni – as it was a little intimidating looking up to see a lecture theatre full of faces all waiting for you to start talking!) I think I started off quite confident (my butterflies were flying in formation!) but part way through the talk the nerves started to kick in again – I think I’d tried to be over confident by not looking at my notes, and when I looked back I realised I’d lost my place! I think I recovered reasonably well and the experience, overall was enjoyable. I also enjoyed listening to the RCSLT talk, as it is still relevant to me now, less than a year after graduating.
The whole experience made me more aware at how difficult the process of talking actually is; particularly when the pressure of the situation is increased (i.e. in my case, a lecture theatre of students waiting to listen to what I had to say!) I felt nervous and I was conscious that I had to know exactly what I wanted to say in order to deliver the speech effectively. Every day, people with communication difficulties face such challenges in situations which, for most of us, are a lot less stressful. For example, a person who stammers wanting to order their food in a restaurant, or a child with word finding difficulties telling their teacher what they did over the weekend. Communication really isn’t as easy as we might first think, and I know that it is still something I (like most of us) take for granted. It isn’t until I am in a communicative situation that is outside of my usual comfort zone that I really see that I do take it for granted every day. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to Give Voice for those that are unable to do so themselves.

On another note, I’m still enjoying reading the updates from Charis and Jenny in their Chewless Challenge – it looks like they are doing really well!! I especially liked reading about their pureed food party!! If you haven’t already checked out their blog, then I’d definitely recommend taking a look!! (HERE) I’m pleased to see that they are getting close to their target of £300.

Now I’m off to get ready to go and see Kaiser Chiefs tonight (making sure that I don’t scream too much as I would still like to have a voice in the morning!)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Bizarre to Brilliant...

Following on from the conversation I had at work a couple of weeks ago (about my ‘bizarre’ choice of career) we have engaged in a number of other conversations relating to my search for work. Today, the same person told me that he told his partner about what I studied at university as he thought it was so interesting. He said she hadn’t heard of it either, but they both agree it sounds like a brilliant career choice! I can’t help but feel a little bit proud of myself for making this man more informed and changing his view point on the profession! J

I also had an interesting conversation with one of my colleagues this afternoon about Speech and Language Therapy. He had not heard of Giving Voice – but he has now! J Spreading the word one person at a time…

This week has been a busy one, exchanging email and telephone calls with a number of people regarding Giving Voice. This has included speaking to people at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle about the possibility of raising awareness of Giving Voice around The King’s Speech. A few details still need to be finalised but so far I’ve had a positive response. I have also been in touch with someone from the British Stammering Association to discuss ways we might be able to able to collaborate in our awareness raising mission. I will update in the not to distant future (I hope!!)

Two final year students (Charis and Jenny) at Newcastle University are going to be completing a 1 week ‘Chewless Challenge’ (eating soft/pureed food) to raise awareness of Dysphagia (difficulties swallowing) and money for SCOPE. Check out their brilliant blog (and donate if you can). I think this is a brilliant idea, and will hopefully raise lots of awareness of Dysphagia. I think more people are becoming aware of the role of speech and language therapists with communication and speech, but still less so in terms of the role of SLTs with Dysphagia. I wish both girls the best of luck and look forward to keeping up to date on their blog :-)

During the mass tweet on January 17th, my mam tweeted Dan Whiston (professional dancer on Dancing on Ice) and he retweeted to more than 21,000 followers! J (although this would have been visable to his followers, it was not visable when clicking on the #GivingVoiceUK hashtag as when my mam tweets (using any hashtag) they don't appear with the main ones - we do not know why this is, so if anyone has any idea how we can fix this please do get in touch! :-)