My experience using social media for speech and language therapy
Leeds Beckett alumna and speech language therapist Emily Dodd discusses setting up social media pages and creating a YouTube channel in order to provide professionals, families and patients with guidance during COVID-19.
It sounds obvious, but as a speech and language therapist, I have a strong interest in communication. As well as day-to-day practice as an NHS speech language therapist working directly with children I’m passionate about giving advice and information to others. This includes those directly supporting the children and young people I work with and people in the wider community.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust, where I work, enabled us to set up social media pages on Facebook and Twitter to provide information, tips and advice to families and professionals, using platforms they are familiar with and access regularly. We have a very supportive Communications team who gave us support and media training to get these up and running.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented NHS workers with many challenges. For our service this meant switching from face-to-face appointments to a telehealth service overnight. We luckily had the technology to do this quickly but found it difficult to implement activities and strategies easily.
The solution was the creation of our Barnsley Speech and Language Therapy YouTube channel. We were quickly able to use the skills we’d developed to write, film and edit videos and upload them to the channel. We now have a range of videos from advice on early language strategies to demonstrations of how to do speech sound awareness activities and support AAC. A toolkit of resources was also added to our website to accompany the videos.
We also have videos on the channel featuring young people who’ve accessed our service talking about stammering and what it means to them. These have been extremely powerful to raise awareness of stammering as a natural, valid and legitimate way of talking to people watching. They’ve also benefitted the young people directly accessing our service, supporting their confidence and openness around their talking. Our stammering specialist speech and language therapist now gets requests by young people to be featured!
The positive feedback we’ve received from young people, team therapists, families and other professionals has demonstrated the positive impact the channel has had in communicating information. We are continuing to work on videos for the channel. You might get to help us if you come to our service on placement!
Digital technology plays a big part in people’s daily lives. It’s important to promote information in a variety of different ways to the people we support and society as a whole. My advice is to embrace technology to help you do this. This could be making links with the Communications team to help you with a project. It could be something small like signing up to Twitter and following SLTs in the virtual world for your CPD.
As a proud Leeds Beckett alumna (Leeds Met in my day) it has been fantastic to hear that the videos we have produced are supporting the learning of future speech and language therapists. We hope that they provide a useful resource to you in your career and….
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