Northern Trust Speech and Language Therapist wins UK-wide Rising Star award

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Claire McManus, a Speech and Language Therapist at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, was this month recognised as a Rising Star at the Advancing Healthcare Awards in London.

The Rising Star Award shines the spotlight on people within five years of qualifying, who have already made their mark, by recognising staff who have shown a level of initiative, skill and commitment that is truly exceptional. These staff stand out from the crowd and demonstrate courage in meeting professional or personal challenges, displaying determination and bravery and flourishing in whatever setting they find themselves.

Claire, 27, who is based in Ballymena was praised as being efficient, innovative and working to very high standard in her job, having used her skills in exceptional circumstances. In July 2012 Claire went to Kenya, using her own annual leave to help a little boy called Moses, who was raised in the forest by monkeys. Moses used no English and had only a few words in Kiswahili - the native language.

Claire devised some simple therapeutic activities to work specifically on areas to improve Moses’ communication skills including attention and listening, turn-taking skills, developing eye contact, following instructions and expressive vocabulary. By the time Claire left Moses had made a significant improvement and was able to communicate with his friends and teachers and understand and follow instructions.

Returning to practice Claire has implemented some of the knowledge and skills she developed during this time and has had a significant impact on many of the children she treats.

Mildred Bell Head of Speech and Language Therapy & Associated Services, Northern Health and Social Care Trust said: “On a daily basis Claire makes a significant difference in the lives of the children that she works with. Speech and language therapy is more than a job for Claire, she is passionate and enthusiastic about what she does”.

Many parents recognise the valuable service Claire provides and have complimented Claire commenting: “I was very impressed. Claire made my son feel at ease and he was able to talk to her about anything, as if she was one of the family”.

“We would like to say a very big thank you for all the help Claire has given our child. If we could turn back the clock we would have taken our child to see Claire a long time ago”.

Two other members of the Speech and language therapy service were also recognised at the awards ceremony. Judith McCartney, Speech and Language Therapist and Evelyn Bell, Speech and Language Therapist Assistant were runners up in the award for maximising resources for success.

Mildred Bell Head of Speech and Language Therapy & Associated Services, continued: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of these three members of staff have been recognised at a UK level. They are a credit to the Speech and Language Profession and to the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.