Giving Voice

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Balloons, Cake and Glorious Sunshine!

What a glorious day it was yesterday! The sun shone and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The beautiful weather brought lots of people outdoors to Saltwell Park, Gateshead. The Family Fun day and walk was organised by the Stroke Association and I spoke to someone prior to the event to ask for permission to hand out Giving Voice leaflets. I was delighted when they said that was fine! There was a lot of entertainment in the park, including Zumba, live music, tombola, raffle, dancing, face painting and cake!

We set up our table on a nice spot on the grass ready to hand out leaflets and balloons. We were set up between the face painting stand and the cake stall, which turned out to be really good as it was a great opportunity to give children balloons while they were waiting to have their face painted. Each child we gave a balloon too, we gave a leaflet to the parents and told them a little bit about Speech and Language Therapy and the Giving Voice campaign. Most people were quite interested and the balloons went down well with the children.
I engaged a few people in particularly interesting conversations about their experiences of speech and language therapy, as well as talking to some Stroke Association volunteers about Giving Voice. One lady I spoke to said all three of her children have had speech and language therapy at some point, most recently her youngest child, for feeding. She said she was surprised to find out that it would be a speech and language therapist who would help her son with feeding, but that he is now able to eat lumpy foods.

 A few people wrote their thoughts about speech and language therapy/what communication means to them on a nice pink speech bubble. Here are some of them:

"Communication is a blessing, not a right of passage. As someone who is dyspraxic I still find communicating a challenge. When I communicate successfully I get to learn about the world and others around me get a better understanding of who I am and what it's like to be me"
“Communication is vital in all parts of life for the needs of the person in question”
“ the power to be understood...makes relationships easier...helps to make relating to the world and your environment easier.”
"Speech and Language Therapy is really good and it has really helped my two little girls talk and tell me what they has also helped my son eat lumpy foods! Thanks to everyone that trains to be a therapist great work!"
We gave out approximately 65 leaflets, 5 badges, 20 stickers and 60 balloons. It was a lovely day and it was nice to Give Voice out in the sunshine. I was wearing my Giving Voice t-shirt and a badge, and my parents were wearing a Giving Voice badge each too!
I only found out about this event fairly last minute but it was definitely worth making the phone call to ask if we could go along.  There were hundreds of people at the event, and although I wasn’t able to speak everyone individually, it was worth it for the people we did speak to. We also had the Giving Voice pop up banner which lots of people were reading as they walked past – spreading the message that little bit further that ‘Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives’ 

I read an Old Chinese Proverb recently ‘The man who moved a mountain is the one who started taking away the small stones’ – I think this applies to campaigning, and Giving Voice – we might not achieve big things over night but every small thing we do and each person we influence is one person more who knows about the great work Speech and Language Therapists do!
Look out for local events in your area over the summer and see if you can go along and Give Voice!

Friday, 25 May 2012

5000 and beyond...

I’m very excited that my blog has exceeded 5000 pages views! It’s great that lots of people are reading and sharing it, to spread the message that Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives. Hopefully won’t be too long before it reaches 6000.
I was really excited to get my blog re-tweeted by Patrick Monahan (7701 followers)and Lost Voice Guy (1166 followers) help me reach 5000 views! Thank you to everyone else who shared it too! J
The Stroke Association are having a family fun day at Saltwell Park, Gateshead tomorrow ( Saturday 26th May, 10-2pm) and I got permission yesterday to go along and hand out Giving Voice leaflets. If you are in the area why not come along and say hello? Hopefully the weather will be as nice as it is today! I’ll blog again after the event J
Here’s a link to their website if you want to have a look at the event!
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Grabbing Opportunities...

I was hoping to reach 5000 page views before my birthday this month, but as that was earlier in the week I wasn’t successful with this. Almost at 5000 now though so hopefully won’t be too long before I get there! I’m still thrilled that so many people seem to be reading my blog!
On Friday I went into Newcastle to go to the Northern Research Special Interest Group (SIG). I got the metro in, and was of course, wearing my Giving Voice badge. When I arrived at the SIG a fellow speech and language therapist said she noticed my badge on the metro. I’m glad it’s so noticeable and will continue to wear it in the hope that it will lead to more Giving Voice/Speech and Language Therapy conversations in the future.
As I was getting off the metro I spotted Lost Voice Guy so I stopped by and said hello. It was nice that he recognised me and I am pleased I stopped for a chat. I’m looking forward to seeing him perform again on June 11th, when he is supporting Patrick Monahan (winner of 'Show me the Funny') at Hoochie Coochie in Newcastle! :-)  

Check out their websites
The Research SIG was really interesting and it made me even more enthusiastic about the profession. I am currently working as a research assistant with Newcastle University and the SIG made me more excited about this current post.
I have been in touch with the Stroke Association about a couple of events they are having in the next few months. There’s a fun day at Saltwell Park in Gateshead next weekend and I am hoping to be able to go along with some leaflets. I spoke to someone last week and they said they will get in touch with me tomorrow, so hopefully it will be positive news. I heard about the event from a fax that my mam received at work and thought it would be a good opportunity to Give Voice. It’s worth keeping your eye out for such things as you never know what opportunities could be waiting to be used!
Hopefully I’ll have something else to report soon – please keep sharing my blog as Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Pinkjules meets Lost Voice Guy

After talking to a colleague last week and learning that Lost Voice Guy was due to perform in Newcastle on Thursday night, I knew I had to go! Having read and heard a lot about him I was looking forward to seeing him on stage!
Here’s a little introduction, for those of you that have not heard of Lost Voice Guy (where have you been?!) Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, is “(probably) the first stand up comedian to use a communication aid”. Lee has Cerebral Palsy and uses an aid for his communication.
I tweeted Lost Voice Guy on Thursday afternoon ahead of the gig on Thursday night and was rather excited when he replied telling me to enjoy my night and come and say hi if I wanted.
Lost Voice Guy was not the headline act, but he was the reason we went along to the Jazz Cafe on Thursday night. I was looking forward to meeting Lost Voice Guy and judging by the amount of attention he was getting he was certainly popular! Every time I thought I’d go and say hi, he was surrounded by people talking to him (particularly after his performance!) I did manage to get to speak to him at the end of the night though and was delighted he recognised me from my tweet! (I was wearing my Giving Voice badge at the gig, and I have a Giving Voice twibbon on my twitter pic, so maybe this was how he recognised me).
I had a great night and enjoyed seeing Lost Voice Guy perform with his iPad. It’s lovely to see how well he is doing and it’s great that he is also raising awareness of the use of communication aids.  I think Lost Voice Guy has a lot of courage to get up and perform on stage as he does (I know from personal experience how nerve wracking it is to communicate in front of an audience) – he does it extremely well and the audience loved him!
I’ve spent a lot of the weekend telling people that I saw Lost Voice Guy perform last week, and I am pleased at how many people have already heard of him. It has also led to some interesting conversations about communication, and comedy in general.
If you haven’t already visited his website ( I’d highly recommend it! Why not go and take a look at his brilliant blog and check out the dates for his upcoming gigs! J

Lost Voice Guy on stage at Jazz Cafe, Newcastle, 3rd May 2012