Are you trying to hide your Speech and Swallowing problems? Speak Up!
Ms. Nayantara Nambiar, Speech Language Pathologist, Unified Brain Health Care.
People across all ages can have speech, language or swallowing difficulties. This can affect how clear their speech is, how their voice sounds, their ability to eat all types of food or whether they can respond when asked a question. In our community, parents feel guilty if their child has a speech and language problem or if it is an adult with a problem, they feel ashamed that they have such a problem. These feelings are common, and your speech therapist will support you and your family with getting the help that you need.
Speech and language issues affect the person’s ability to get their message across but also has a larger impact on their life. We need to communicate every day in a variety of situations, be it to the food delivery person to give directions, your cousin from abroad over video call, or your best friend over SMS. So, when communication is affected, it tends to cause a breakdown in all areas of life.
The first step in standing up for speech difficulties is to create awareness. Telling people about the speech and language problem that you or your child may have will be helpful to others as they may not know much about the problem and have views based on myths or rumours. So, you can change this by giving them the correct information and making them better aware.
Tips and tricks
Some ideas to spread awareness and stand up for the person with speech difficulties are:
- Ask your speech therapist to connect you with other people with the same speech issues. You are not alone, and it always helps to talk to someone who may have been through the same as you. Talking and discussing your journey will make you more comfortable and confident to approach treatment.
- Learn about the speech and language problem itself. Your speech therapist can provide you with information about disorder and the treatment process. Remember knowledge is wealth!
- Once you learn more about the speech problem, you will be in a better position to talk to your family and friends. Tell them about your or your child’s strengths, the skills that are challenging for them and how it affects their day-to-day life.
- Other than family and friends, the other important people in the person’s life also need to be aware. This can be people at school, work, or social activities. You can request your speech therapist to talk about the speech problem or you can ask for materials such as handouts, videos, or articles that you can share.
- Get your speech therapist to help you come up with a response that you might use when people ask you about your speech problem, for example you might say “I HAVE TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING YOU, YOU MIGHT NEED TO REPEAT OR REPHRASE YOUR QUESTIONS” or “I AM WORKING ON MY SPEECH, WAIT FOR ME TO FINISH MY SENTENCE”.
- Awareness does not need to be boring. You can make it fun by watching movies about speech problems (e.g. Kings Speech) or talk about successful people who have had speech problems (e.g. Stephen Hawking).
Yes, we can
Communication is our right and we need to seek help when it is affected. As you seek help, talk to people, create awareness, and stand up for the challenges that you are facing. Your speech therapist is there to support you.
Unified Brain Health Care is one of a kind integrated Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai for adults and children offering in person and online therapy in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Career Counselling, Fitness Coaching and Educational Intervention. We also offer Family and Marriage Counselling, help for PCOS, care during pregnancy, post-pregnancy care for new moms, infant and early childhood stimulation, infant and young child nutrition, care for caregivers and promote holistic brain health.