Back to the future: student to lecturer.

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As a speech and language therapy student I was full of admiration and awe for the lecturers, researchers and speech and language therapists who taught us. I still recall some of those lectures very clearly. It really did influence my daily practice. When faced with a person with a communication difficulty, I was quite aware that my decision making was underpinned by what I had learnt at university.

I remember learning about dementia back in the year 2000 on an exceptionally hot and sunny couple of days in a UCL lecture theatre just behind tottenham court road. I recall admiring the vast knowledge that this speech and language therapist possessed. She threw about complex medical diagnosis, names of medications and exotic unusual therapy interventions we had not really heard that much about anywhere else. This was followed by another inspiring lecture by a researcher and academic who is basically famous in speech and language therapy. It seemed like a mammoth field for a therapist to understand.

Recently here in the future the same speech and language therapist and researcher/academic’s who taught me on dementia have both stepped back from these lecturers. And I was asked if I would like to deliver these lectures. What an honour and what a responsibility, I cannot quite believe it.

I have spent the last few weeks carefully studying the previous lectures and crafting what I hope will be something  useful for the students. The timing has changed- it will be February so not so hot, and the room is different. I wonder if I can communicate the information the students need to understand something about this fascinating yet destructive condition. I want speech and language therapists in the future to feel equipped to deliver therapeutic interventions for people with dementia and their loved ones. That is why I wrote a book about it back in 2013. Does that qualify me for these lectures? Fingers crossed and wish me luck! The “imposter syndrome” monster is looming up behind me as I type. But I will keep him under control  and attempt to inspire some future clinicians to continue flying the flag for speech and language therapists in dementia. Dementia is after all one of the fastest expanding areas of practice for speech and language therapists.

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