Dawn House School student wows guests at I CAN’s 125th Anniversary Launch Event

Sam Crowther, a Further Education student at I CAN’s Dawn House School, spoke to over 100 guests at the launch of I CAN’s 125th Anniversary in March. The event also launched the final phase of the Million Lost Voices appeal.

Sam gave a moving presentation for five minutes bringing to life how challenging it is to live with a communication difficulty and to highlight the impact of the right support.

Sam said: “I felt honoured and proud to be talking on behalf of I CAN to tell people firsthand about difficulties with SLCN. Also I wanted to repay I CAN for all of their help they’ve given me over the years so I thought my speeches were the first steps towards that.

The key points about my speech were the help and opportunities that I CAN have given me. Over the years I CAN have helped me hugely with my confidence and my speech beyond belief. They have given me opportunity after opportunity to do things that a young person with similar difficulties as me in a mainstream setting doesn’t get. So my key point was that I want those people to have similar opportunities as me because SLCN is common. Young people don’t have to hide their difficulties.

I want to help I CAN achieve their goals for the future and to raise awareness of SLCN to other organisations.”

Linda, Sam’s mum said: “We were immensely proud that Sam had been asked to speak at I CAN’s 125th Anniversary launch event. If anyone had suggested to us when Sam was younger that he would be speaking at formal events when he was older, we wouldn’t have believed them. It really was unimaginable – he couldn’t really say a word until he was 8 or 9 years old! We were also a bit nervous for him. He’d made an amazing speech at the House of Lords in December but there was no guarantee that he could repeat that performance.

Sam was very calm and collected though and approached the occasion with such confidence and positivity that made us believe he could do it.

On the night he exceeded all our expectations and was amazing. It is very difficult to put our emotions into words – listening to him delivering his speech about his journey made even us realise how far he had come and how brave and resilient he had been. We felt immensely proud and full of admiration for him – mixed with concern that he might make a mistake or lose his nerve – but he didn’t.  We also realised that this was an incredible opportunity for him – almost a spring board into the future which always seemed very uncertain but now seems full of opportunities for Sam.

We hoped that Sam would be able to help the audience understand what it’s like to have a severe speech and language problem. And also, how with the right help, you can overcome many of the issues and find your own path and way in the world. We also hoped he would inspire people and motivate them to continue to support I CAN.

We are so grateful to I CAN for firstly providing the schools and infrastructure to help children like Sam – if it hadn’t been there he would be a very different young man. We’re also grateful for them inviting Sam to speak on their behalf – believing in him has increased his belief in himself!”

Find out more about what it is like to have SLCN by watching this two minute film that was also shown at the launch event.