Helping students with complex needs to love the sound of their own voice

For students with complex needs who need to use a communication device to talk, efforts to provide them with regional accents, as well as sounds and expressions that accurately reflect how they wish to speak, have proved life-changing, says Cathie Bridges

How to love your own voice

It’s the Easter holidays and 12-year-old Dylan* is not hanging out with his friends, on holiday with his mum or dad, or begrudgingly having tea with Grandma, like others his age. Instead, he is sat in a small, sound-proof room at National Star College, Cheltenham. Into a microphone, he speaks more than 16,000 phrases. If he speaks too quickly or too close to the microphone, he repeats them.

It’s a long process – one that will take days. But he’s not alone: a speech and language therapist, and a technician from the college, are with him. They, too, have given up days of their holiday to be ...

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