30 December 2019

Could you communicate without using your voice? #UEACommunication Challenge takes off on social media!

Grace Marshall, treasurer of the University of East Anglia Speech and Language Therapy society, tells us how the #UEACommunication Challenge took off, raising both money and awareness for children with SLCN. 

“How could you communicate if you couldn’t speak? For the thousands of children and young people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), this challenge is a daily reality.

This year, the Speech and Language Therapy Society at the University of East Anglia (UEA) wanted to find a creative way to raise awareness and funds for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). We racked our brains for a challenge that would encourage everyone to get involved and donate to I CAN in the process.

We thought that one of the best ways to raise awareness would be for people to experience first-hand the challenges that children with SLCN face, so decided to challenge people to communicate the sentence ‘I can communicate without using my voice’, without using their voice! SLT Society members led the way by creating a video that showed some of the alternative communication methods widely used throughout the SLT community to support children and adults to communicate.

Our creative twist led to loads of great responses: we had adorable pets getting involved, responses all the way from Bermuda and Australia, and even a Love Actually remake! The amount of involvement from all over the country was incredible. Not only did we raise awareness of communication difficulties and the importance of AAC, we asked people to donate anything they could, and by doing so raised an awesome £510 online. 

This challenge led up to our annual Giving Voice week; the Giving Voice campaign, run by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, aims to ‘give voice’ to people with speech, language and communication needs and demonstrate how speech and language therapy makes a difference to individuals and broader society across the UK. Each November the UEA SLT society aim to raise money and awareness of the campaign.

This year we held many events to specifically raise money for I CAN. These included a bake sale, a movie night, a bench ball tournament and finally our annual ‘Quiz and Chips’ night. We used these events as opportunities to not only raise money but explain why speech and language therapy is so important. A game of ‘thickener pong’, for example, used thickened shots of fruit squash to provide awareness of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties in a fun and inventive way.

UEL Communication Challenge responsesWe asked 'how do you communicate?' and here are some of the answers!

Not only did we get some fantastic comments about our cakes, but generated lots of interest in speech and language therapy and the client groups we help!

The people we have been able to speak to, and the information we have given to people has been invaluable. It’s been amazing to be able to give back to something we feel so passionately about and to open people’s eyes to the impact that speech and language difficulties can have. As a society, we are incredibly proud to be supporting I CAN in all the amazing work they do.”

Do you have a creative fundraising idea that could help children and young people find their voice? Find out more about fundraising for I CAN here!

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