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MA Speech & Language Therapy, UK

I first became interested in Speech and Language Therapy as a career opportunity through my mother's franchise of Tumble Tots in West Sussex, where many parents in the area were having trouble finding a speech therapist for their child. Having spent my whole life surrounded by younger children I know communication is a vital skill. I therefore felt that for these children and their families not to have access to an important service was wrong. I want to be able to help people who have difficulty with basic communication skills. I've gained valuable experience by attending talks by speech and language therapists and psychologists about the importance of Speech Therapy, what a career in Speech and Language Therapy is like and the mental health spectrum. I have also read relevant articles and watched videos by I CAN. These resources offered me the opportunity to fully understand what a career in Speech Therapy would be like and have increased my determination to achieve it.

Since the beginning of July 2008 I have been volunteering at the Grace Eyre Foundation, Brighton, a day centre for adults with learning difficulties. I also take part in their Travel Buddy Scheme assisting a disabled lady to use public transport to get home so that she can have increased independence. Volunteering at Grace Eyre has shown me how Speech Therapy can improve someone's life greatly by giving them the opportunity to express themselves. At Grace Eyre I have been taking basic Makaton lessons which I have found a fantastic tool when trying to communicate with some of the people there.

In July 2008 I volunteered for a week at the Care Co-ops Community Farm, East Sussex, which is maintained by adults with disabilities, both mental and physical. Whilst there I experienced how rewarding it is to help people with disabilities through having fun and being creative and this deepened my resolve to become a speech therapist. I have also worked with both able and disabled children; in June 2006 I did a week's work experience at Cumann Iosaef Community Pre-school, it allowed me to see the interaction between able and disabled children. I also helped to run a weekly sports club at Davigdor Infants School for 4 months in 2006 as part of my sports leaders qualification.

On the 1st and 2nd of October 2008 I shadowed Speech Therapist Yamini Burgul at the Evelina Children's Hospital which was fascinating, I got so much out of my two days there and although some of the cases I saw were tragic the difference that Yamini was making to the children's lives was so apparent that it strengthened my relsolve go into this career. I have also organised to shadow Speech Therapist Alison Eccles at Chailey Secondary School in January 2009.

My A level choices give me a good understanding of different aspects of Speech and Language Therapy. In Human Biology I'm learning about the structure of the body and what can go wrong to cause speech or swallowing difficulties. Psychology lets me explore cognitive development further than I did in GCSE Child Development. I did a long term study of the normal development of a child, looking at their physical, cognitive, emotional and social development and I achieved 102/105 marks for my study. Performing Arts is a subject that requires me to put in a lot of work and challenges me to be creative and outgoing. When working with children in Speech Therapy my experience from this subject will help lots.

When I first considered Speech and Language Therapy I was sure I would want to work with children, however, my work at Care Co-ops and Grace Eyre have shown me the importance of speech in adulthood and now feel that I could work in either field. My time at the Evelina Children's Hospital showed me how important Speech Therapy is and I know that it is the only career path I want to take.

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