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