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Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Surrey Main Image

Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Surrey

Thu 09 Nov 2023

Speech and Language Therapy

A collaboration with City, University of London speech and language therapy students

This project aims to help those with communication problems and to facilitate opportunities to practice talking with others.

The collaboration was to connect speech and language students with clients with brain injury to help deal with loneliness and give a sense of belonging. The initial plan was to pilot a Walking and Talking Group, then next year some large-scale projects they could work on, for example creating recipe books, or offering some one-to-one peer befriending and co-facilitating some of the current groups.

The students are under the supervision of Dr Nicholas Behn, Senior Lecturer and specialist speech and language therapist at City University of London, Department of Language and Communication Science, who specialises in communication disorders after brain injury.

What’s the impact?

“The aim was to start the pilot Walking and Talking Group this year, which we have done. This group would help those with communication issues and encourage practice and improvement in speech in a non-classroom environment.

The Group has encouraged free-flowing conversation in a relaxed way, whilst all those involved have also gained the benefits of light exercise, fresh air and well-being. It has offered the opportunity to socialise and relieve issues of isolation.

Clients have reported their excitement attending the Walking and Talking Group, they really look forward to it. It has given them the experience of being in a different place and provided something for them to talk about with other people they may meet at home. The walk and talk has enabled clients to discuss what works well (and not) from day-to-day life challenges. It has definitely been a chance to connect with others, to help deal with loneliness and give them a sense of belonging.

The speech and language students have developed skills in facilitating and managing communication with people with brain injury. They reported increased understanding of brain injuries and confidence in adapting their communication for both people with brain injury and their family members. They developed skills in risk management and how private charities such as Headway Surrey provide an invaluable service to this clinical population. All four students involved expressed interest in continued involvement with Headway Surrey. Dr Nicholas Behn offers support and guidance to our staff and the students.

Prior to the involvement of the students, Dr Nicholas Behn spent time at Headway Surrey communicating with staff and leading a group therapy session with service-users for the staff to observe. The collaboration has been invaluable to the development of skills for all involved, and an enjoyable collaboration. Student feedback has highlighted positive changes that can be made to ensure the initiative can be expanded to other students within the speech and language therapy programme at City, and to other groups and services within Headway Surrey.” (Sonja Freebody, CEO Headway Surrey)

“Thank you for facilitating this incredibly worthwhile opportunity. I'm so glad that the Headway team and clients enjoyed the collaboration.”
“I really enjoyed today's walk - thank you so much for organising it. I found it hugely inspiring chatting with all the clients and their families. It was amazing to hear how much the charity has helped them - you guys are clearly doing an incredible job. “
“I enjoyed talking to the speech and language students. They were really interesting, and they waited for me to think of my replies”.

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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