Top national award for speech and language therapist

Anita Smith
Anita Smith

A consultant speech and language therapist at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has been presented with a Giving Voice Award.

Anita Smith was given the accolade by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of people’s swallowing disorders.

On May 11, 2016, Anita, who is based at the Conquest Hospital, organised the UK’s first Swallowing Awareness Day to draw attention to this condition. She gathered local, national and international support for the awareness initiative via the media and social media and mobilised scores of people across the UK to demonstrate the life-transforming, cost-effective work that speech and language therapists do in caring for individuals with Dysphagia. This could apply to people who have swallowing difficulties after a serious incident, such as a stroke, or as part of a life-limiting disease, such as Parkinson’s or Motor Neurone Disease or just as part of getting older.

RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok MBE said: “We’re delighted to recognise Anita’s achievements. She worked collaboratively with a diverse group of people to highlight Dysphagia – an area which receives less profile than communication disability.”

Anita said: “I am delighted to receive this award, but I couldn’t have achieved what I did in such a small timescale without the support and commitment of my fellow speech and language therapists around the UK. Thank you to all of you who helped turn my little idea into the hugely successful event that it was.”

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