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A Day in the Life with Laura Talbot, Speech and Language Therapist

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  • 2023
  • April
  • A Day in the Life with Laura Talbot, Speech and Language Therapist
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My name is Laura and I have been working with Provide as a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist for two and a half years. My journey to get where I am today has not been without its challenges, for I am profoundly deaf and wear two cochlear implants. I was born hearing but when I was three years old my hearing started to decline, and I was fitted with hearing aids. At this young age, wearing hearing aids never fazed me, in fact I rather looked forward to choosing the colour of my next hearing aid moulds! Gradually, my hearing worsened, and I became profoundly deaf by 8 years of age; I remember this being a rather isolating time, nevertheless I continued to participate as best as I could in daily life. I was fitted with my first cochlear implant at almost 9 years old and received a second implant later at the age of 14. This hearing technology has opened up a whole world of opportunities for me, and whilst the implants are not a ‘magic cure’ to restore normal hearing, I certainly could not have got to where I am today without them.

Amazed by the medical, educational and family support that I received growing up, I have always been determined to have a career in helping others, therefore pursuing training to become a Speech and Language Therapist. I am currently working with preschool-aged children and have a particular interest in supporting work with the deaf preschool caseload. I have found it extremely rewarding being able to contribute specialist deafness knowledge through personal, lived experience, and I have received positive feedback from deaf children and their families when they realise that they are going to be supported by a therapist who is deaf herself, offering them hope that anything is possible. I feel that my own encounters of various communication challenges have supported me to empathise with patients who have a range of speech, language and communication needs.

Starting my newly-qualified Speech and Language Therapist role with Provide during the Covid pandemic was challenging, and even once face-to-face working resumed, I still required some reasonable adjustments to allow me to carry out my role to the best level that I could. In the early days, working virtually with patients and colleagues using Microsoft Teams was particularly tiring in relation to listening and lip reading on a screen. Similarly, mask wearing in face-to-face clinic settings meant that I was unable to lip read, resulting in a greater level of listening effort and concentration fatigue. I sometimes find it tricky to follow what is being said in large team meetings, so I make use of remote captioning support workers who join virtually, to type live notes for me to follow. I have been eternally thankful for my wonderfully supportive colleagues who have shown an interest in asking me about my deafness and my own communication needs, and I always try to take a proactive approach when considering ways to make my own access easier within the workplace.

I am glad to be helping to raise Deaf Awareness within Provide and will gladly speak with members of staff who have any questions or would like to know how they can better support any deaf individuals that they live or work with.

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