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Charlotte embraces every opportunity to make a difference to people's lives

Helping a baby to feed and a child who is non-verbal to sign are among Charlotte Thompson’s achievements – and she is still only in her second year at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) student has had an array of interesting placements and experiences, where the “little things” she has done have had “pretty amazing” results.

Charlotte main

Picture by Helena Dolby

Charlotte said: “I’ve definitely chosen the right course.

“Being a Speech and Language Therapist is so broad and varied and there are so many people you can work with.”

In Charlotte’s case, these include a four-day-old baby and adults with dementia.

The 22-year-old said: “We do a lot of placements, where you get to apply what you’ve learnt in the classroom to real life.

“In my first year we went to a care home and had to design and carry out activities to give people with dementia more communication opportunities.

“The Dementia Friend training we did as part of the course was very relevant to this.

“At a nursery I designed a story session to support children with delayed language development.

“One little boy was non-verbal and myself and the nursery staff were introducing him to a few Makaton signs to give him the ability to say yes or no. It opened up so many more opportunities for him to communicate his feelings.”

Another highlight is shadowing a cleft palate nurse on a visit to a four-day-old boy, an opportunity Charlotte organised herself.

She said: “The nurse checked how he was feeding, as babies with cleft palates may need specially designed teats so they can drink milk.

“Although mum couldn’t breastfeed, the nurse made sure baby could get a good feeding position. This is really important to make it a positive experience for them both.”

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Derbyshire-born Charlotte has always wanted to help people, deciding on SALT after researching suitable careers.

“I saw some videos of therapists working with young children, who because of the therapist’s intervention said their first words, which was amazing. It felt right for me,” said Charlotte, who volunteers with Bear Hugs, a Sheffield-based social enterprise, when she gets the chance.

She chose DMU because of the campus feel and the “enthusiasm and commitment” of the staff she spoke to at an Open Day.

Deferring her place because of health reasons, Charlotte kept in education mode with a part-time teaching assistant course.

Since joining DMU Charlotte has benefited from “supportive tutors” and dedicated SALT facilities such as the speech lab, and child and adult assessment libraries.

She is now looking forward to her second-year activities, which include helping narrow the gap between nursery children with delayed language development and their peers.

“I am so excited that I get to do the I CAN charity Talk Boost training next year and run an intervention group,” she said.

“And I can’t wait to have a placement in DMU’s Speech and Language Therapy Centre. It provides opportunities for students, as well as therapy/intervention for clients, which is so exciting.” 

Posted on Friday 8th December 2017

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