Not many people know that as a child and as a teenager I suffered from an appalling lisp to the point where I was basically unintelligible.  Between the ages of about five and thirteen, with weekly speech therapy, I learned gradually to speak clearly, to conquer those th sounds that sabotaged my voice, to speak more slowly & to raise the timbre of my voice so that my swallowed consonants, sibilant whispers and express train delivery stopped sabotaging my every human interaction.

I then started to take the Guildhall exams in Speech & Drama, for which I was taught to speak in public. I can now sight read both prose & poetry aloud, have read at several dear friends’ weddings, and it’s one of the reasons why I am confident on live television and radio.

The point is that speech therapy helped me first to be understood and then gave me the tools to present myself to the world. You’ve probably all seen The King’s Speech by now and hopefully realised just how important speech therapy can be. I’d be grateful if you would watch this video I made yesterday  (if you’re reading this on my daily email, you’ll need to click though to the actual blog to see it), and then click on the link at the bottom of this post. Please forgive the quality: unscripted & done in one take, I forgot some important stuff, (like how speech therapy helps my sister with MS-related swallowing & speech problems), but it was spoken from the heart.

Here’s a little more info from the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, which Lionel Logue helped to found.

“Every day, speech and language therapists work with a huge variety of people – from young children who stammer to older people recovering from stroke and other brain injuries. Speech and language therapists enable people to express themselves, to listen to and understand others.

They provide accurate identification, assessment and diagnosis of speech, language and swallowing disorders and enable people to develop or regain vital communication and swallowing skills.

The Giving Voice campaign aims to demonstrate how speech and language therapy makes a difference to people with speech, language and communication needs, their families, and the wider society. We want to show what speech and language therapy is and the positive impact it has. Giving Voice will also demonstrate that this unique and vital service is cost-effective and value for money.”

The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapist’s Giving Voice campaign is here

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18 comments

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Wow this is an amazing post, I haven’t seen the film yet (no time).

I can totally relate to your post, I too had speech problem as a young child and through early adulthood, had trouble speaking to pupils and teachers in schools (at home I was fine because I spoke Chinese), hardly spoke a word or had trouble to form a sentence I was pretty much a mute(ness) for over 10 years. I was teased at college which was humiliating with lack of self esteem and confidence I oftened said wrong things before thinking.

Cut to the story, I’m slowly getting getting better since I started my first internship in fashion (of course you had to communicate within the design team right?), come on I was 22 and managed to form two sentences and at 25 I managed to converse in full but still clutter, lisp, sibilant etc .

Now at 28 nearly 29, I must admit my speech is ok ok, there are times where I would have speech block (can’t get a word out), using the ‘th’ sounding i.e the words ‘authorisation”authorise’ goodness it usually would take me 3 attempts to say it properly.

Oral reading, well I truly suck.

Thanks for The Giving Voice Campaign info, I will look into it.

xxx

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You are a good soul, Sasha. If I lived in the U.K. I would sign the petition forthwith. I think your voice is so lovely, I enjoy listening to you talk!

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Thank you Stephanie – that’s a really lovely thing to say. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all these amazing comments. What wonderful readers I have. LLGxx

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you are a godsend in so many ways. I enjoy your blog, and today listening to your plea on behalf of speech therapy I realized that I too have a similar problem with my thoughts racing way ahead of my abilty to get the words to keep up. Curious to know more about dyspraxia I looked it up and saw, to my surprise, that my life has been filled with the entire array of the disorder, including difficulties with memory, sensory overload and depth perception. I am not complaining…too late for that, but it is really amazing to finally see how all these issues connect to each other.

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For me Lionel Logie was as much of a hero as King George VI in the King’s Speech and I’m so pleased that this wonderful, interesting man’s story has been told. Speech therapy is fascinating and I must say had I known more about it when I was younger it might have been something I would have pursued at University, perhaps this film will mean more people are both aware of speech therapy and go into the profession- through my day job I know that funding for speech therapy is very tight but also that even if you have the money for an SaLT you need to find one. You speak beautifully, I would have no idea of you ever having trouble.

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Absolutely will do. I had an awful lisp, and had to go to speech therapy throughout primary school. It’s mostly gone, but when I’m drunk or incredibly nervous, or even just excited, it comes back a bit.
It’s so painful to bungle your own name; “Thylvia” just makes me want to curl up and die whenever I say it.

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I totally get it: fafa wasn’t ideal either. And it does still come out at moments of high stress. Thank you for sharing love, LLGxx

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Well said, so well said, the cuts to speech therapy are very worrying indeed – could write a novel about this and bore you sh*tless but won’t. Do you read Rachel’s blog, Strange and Beautiful? She’s on twitter as well, will find you her twitter name. She has twin girls, one autistic, one NT and she writes about it beautifully. Touches on speech and other therapies, obviously. Very well worth a read, deserves much greater exposure. (She has the balls to blog what I cannot). Just great, thank you xxx

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Rachel is at http://www.strange-beau.blogspot.com x

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Great video Sasha – from the heart and very persuasive. It held my attention from start to finish. I really enjoyed it but I found the hand gestures a bit distracting. I hope that doesn’t sound too critical, the comment is made with good intention (I am a member of Toastmasters where evaluations always include suggestions). From what I could see the ‘hobbit hole’ is looking good. Congrats.

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Well done Sasha. I admire your candor. Jx

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Thank you Janie – I just feel that it is very, very important LLGxx

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Thank you so much for this video and accompanying article it makes me feel so much better to see that I’m not the only one to have dealt with speech problems. My issues with speaking are slightly different then your’s admittedly, for I am hard of hearing, so I had years and years of speech therapy which have helped immensely! Honestly, I have actually had people tell me before that they don’t even notice that I am hard of hearing because my speech is quite good! Although, when I was younger this wasn’t the case. As anyone who has had any speech therapy of any kind can testify it works wonders and it’s so vital in helping overcoming personal issues. So thank you for reminding me how blessed I am and how important this issue is. 🙂

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