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People who have made the biggest contribution to the field of speech and language therapy have been recognised at the annual Royal College of Language and Speech Therapists (RCLST) awards.
The event in Cardiff was attended by more than 100 guests and saw five RCLST fellowships being awarded to those who had shown outstanding scholarship in the field, including Dr Justin Roe, the joint head of speech and language therapy at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, plus one honorary fellowship.
Anita Smith, Paul Kirkland and Karen McInally of the Swallow Disorders Clinic, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust were given the Sternberg Clinical Innovation Award in recognition of their ground-breaking work.
As well as those working directly in the field, 20 awards were given to those who had promoted the benefits of speech therapy through the Giving Voice campaign over the previous year.
Among those who received this award were Mike Carlin, who works for NHS Tayside’s Children and Young People’s Speech and Language Therapy Department.
He received his award for forming a choir called Sing It Sign It, designed for Makaton sign language users to take part in, the Dundee Evening Telegraph reports.
Several politicians were recognised for their work to raise the profile of speech and language therapy, including Llyr Gruffydd, an Assembly Member for North Wales.
He campaigned on the basis of research showing links between poverty levels and speech development, stating that more than half the children from deprived areas start school with "impoverished" speech.
"These staggering statistics should be evidence enough for politicians and policy-makers to make speech and language therapy a higher priority in Wales," he argued.
Other politicians recognised for their campaigns in the field included Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith, The MP for Taunton Deane Rebecca Pow, and Preet Kaur Gill, who became the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston last year.
Nominating Ms Kaur Gill, speech and language therapy lecturer at Birmingham City University Gillian Rudd - herself one of the 20 award winners - said the MP, who has a background in children's services, has been a "fantastic advocate" for those in need.
Written by Martin Lambert
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