Jenny Sheldon (left), who has fully recovered from a stroke, pictured with Bev Adwell at The BCS Maranoa Centre in Alstonville.
Jenny Sheldon (left), who has fully recovered from a stroke, pictured with Bev Adwell at The BCS Maranoa Centre in Alstonville. Patrick Gorbunovs

Given back the gift of speech

WITHOUT extensive speech therapy following her stroke, Jenny Sheldon says she still wouldn't be able to talk, read or write.

For four months twice a day Jenny worked with speech pathologist Liesel Younger to regain her communication skills.

Ms Younger said following the stroke Jenny, a former school teacher, who had a stoke in the classroom five years ago, was left with major communication difficulties.

"Jenny couldn't read, write or speak, but now she can speak well," she said.

Since regaining her communication skills, Jenny, an accomplished jazz singer, has gone on to study a Certificate IV in Recreational Leisure Therapy at TAFE.

The determined woman said she hoped to secure permanent employment as a leisure therapist.

"If it wasn't for the speech therapy with the amazing Liesel I wouldn't be where I am today," she said.

"Liesel Younger helped me in rehabilitation with my speech; she helped me with my vowels. I could only say 'yes' and 'I don't think so'."

"I wanted to get into leisure therapy as I like to put back something, and I know what the situation is like for many of these people from when I had the stroke."

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) National President Christine Stone said many Australians struggled to communicate effectively to interact with their friends and families, work and participate in social events.

She said during this week's Speech Pathology Week, SPA is encouraging people to come forward and tell their story.

"Even though we estimate more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating, we know that number is much, much higher," she said.

"Difficulties can be present at any age, from newborn babies who can't feed properly, to a preschool child who has difficulty making speech sounds, a primary school child who has autism, a teenager who stutters, a young adult who has had a stroke, a teacher whose voice is strained, a retired person with Parkinson's disease who has difficulty co-ordinating their speech movements; right up to an older person living with dementia."

To find out more about speech pathology visit the Speech Pathology Australia website www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au.

 

The gift of speech

  • Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulty with speech, language, swallowing, fluency (stuttering) and voice.
  • They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language.


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