Noala News

Nov '21 - Neurogenic dysphagia and special guests

Posted on
November 6, 2021
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In this November newsletter, we were lucky to have not one but two guests! ✨ We also discussed the neurogenic dysphagia management via telemedicine, the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, an app to track and improve communication recovery to stroke survivors with aphasia, a new video game targeting children with a stutter and Stammer petition.

We let you discover our guests' stories, we hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did. Both highlight how much representation matters. At Noala, we're here to increase the general awareness of all communication disorders!

Let's build the future of speech and language therapy together! 🙌

Nov '21 Research Paper 🧐

The neurogenic dysphagia management via telemedicine: a systematic review "
published by Cristina Reverberi, Giorgia Gottardo, Irene Battel and Elena Castagnetti  
(full text available online here)

We were particularly interested in the following findings

  • "Significant levels of agreement and high satisfaction from clinicians and patients are reported to support the use of telerehabilitation" with 80% of patients reported no difficulty in seeing the therapist online and 83% of the participants considered the telehealth mode comparable to the traditional approach
  • The following strategies can help mitigate lower audio and video quality: "white surgical tape positioned over the patient’s thyroid notch to enhance visualization of laryngeal movement during the swallow, clear utensils and boluses with colored food dye to facilitate the vision of the dimensions of the bolus and oral preparation times"
  • Many studies highlighted the importance of the presence of a trained caregiver during the rehabilitation session

The authors demonstrate that "there is evidence that clinical swallowing assessment using telerehabilitation approach is reliable and effective, compared to the standard modality" and "telerehabilitation allowed healthcare provision and increasing access to care and services with specialized professionals"

This opens up a whole new world of possibilities to make such specialized services more accessible, don't you think? Should remote rehabilitation be used only during health emergency such as Covid-19?

We would love to hear from you! Feel free to share your experience about using telemedicine to manage neurogenic dysphagia with the Noala community on our forum

We're delighted to introduce you to our first guest 
SLCN stories 👦

SLCN stories, Speech, Language and Communication Needs. Books that celebrate the voices of children who Stammer, have Selective Mutism, Developmental Language Disorder, Speech Disorders and children who are Non-speaking or may need an AAC device to talk

SLCN Stories is a project that shares inclusive children’s books aimed at raising awareness and supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs. They share books that celebrate the voices of children who Stammer, have Selective Mutism, Developmental Language Disorder, Speech Disorders and children who are Non-speaking or may need an AAC device to talk. They also fundraise and donate SLCN book collections to Schools and SEN services.

Sarah founded SLCN Stories in August 2020. As a parent of a child with both a Speech Disorder and Developmental Language Disorder, she is inspired by how hard he has to work to communicate, but also saddened by the lack of awareness and understanding of the impact Speech and Language Needs can have on a child.

Sarah's personal favourite book to share is “The abilities in me Speech Delay” written by the wonderful Gemma Keir. It follows a young girl with a speech delay and explores the impact it has on her both at home and at school. It highlights the challenges faced by a child when other children can’t understand them, but also celebrates their strengths and reminds them that they are not alone. 

Other news we've been reading 📮

The Government has invested £17m in the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI). It is critical as "children with underdeveloped skills in speaking and understanding are at much greater risk of poorer life outcomes" says Carol Payne, interim chief executive of I CAN  👯‍♂️

We're excited to hear that the University of Queensland is developing an app to track and improve communication recovery to stroke survivors with aphasia 🤩

Have you tried Fluency Friends, a new video game by the Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs? It aims to teach children with a stutter various techniques to improve their speech 🎮

Did you know that 70% of British adults who have a stammer feel the need to hide it? It's time for a change. We've signed Stammer petition here 🖋

Please welcome Adam Wright, our second guest this month
We're truly inspired by Adam's journey and how he built confidence with his stammer  🌟

Adam Wright
  • Hello Adam! We would love to hear a bit more about yourself and how you've discovered you had a stammer?

I worked in Social Care from the age of 20. The best job I've ever had was in my early twenties as a support worker in a day centre for Learning disabled Adults. I then had an opportunity to become a Social Care Practitioner. 

Fast forward a few years and he had a fantastic opportunity to go to university. However my speech was starting to affect my work and I had thoughts about giving it up all together because of it. I was turning up late to meetings on purpose so I missed the round of introductions and having to say my name. Also in an open plan office I would make phone calls, often the receiver of the call would hang up as they assumed no one was on the other end [...]. I wouldn't want my colleagues to know this so after the person had hung up the phone I would carry on the call as I would have done - I was talking to myself!

  • You attended a Starfish Project course. Could you please explain us briefly what this course is about and how it helped you?

I knew this couldn't carry on as I wasn't doing the best for my clients. So I decided to embark on the Starfish Project which gave me control of my stammer where previously my stammer had always controlled me & influenced every decision I ever made.
I am now a Team Manager with the team I joined as a 23 year old and speaking is even more a part of my role. I have the confidence to go into any situation and just be myself and speak whenever the opportunity arose.

  • What advice would you give to your younger self regarding your stammer?

I think the general  perception of stammering doesn't help, often used for comical effect in the media etc. If only I had a positive role model to look up to. [...] If we can change the perception of stammering and reinforce the message that it's OK to stammer then hopefully the children that stammer today will have a much easier pathway in life than I did!

If this resonates with you, you can get involved by signing the Stammer petition

And if you're curious, you can take a look at this video for a more in depth description of Adam's journey

Emilie Spire
CEO & Founder
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