Channelling Her Dreams for I CAN – Juliet’s Story
We were thrilled to hear that Speech and Language Therapist Juliet Finnis wanted to swim the English Channel for I CAN!
In the run-up to this massive challenge, we spoke to Juliet about her hopes for the swim and how she helps children with speech and language communication needs in her life.
What was the inspiration behind your desire to Swim the English Channel and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve always been a swimmer ever since I was a child. I love the outdoors and I love swimming. It’s always been a dream of mine to swim the English Channel solo.
I joined a swimming club called ‘Serpentine Swimming Club’ in Hyde Park and some of their members have swam the English Channel too so it just all went from there!
How is your preparation going for it?
It’s going really well! I train 3-4 days a week at the moment. I do a mixture of long-distance swims, strength and conditioning work and gym sessions.
Why was I CAN the charity you wanted to fundraise for?
In my job, I work as a Speech and Language Therapist. In my day-to-day job, I help children with speech and language communication needs (SLCN).
I believe so much in I CAN’s mission in helping children and supporting parents.
It’s absolutely amazing work you do as a charity.
What do you hope to achieve with your
Swim and do you see yourself doing more challenges like this in the future?
Yes, definitely! I want to raise more awareness for children with SLCN and help I CAN in the process.
Just completing the challenge will be a big achievement.
Why do you think children who have SLCN should be a more important issue for parents and wider society?
Communication is a crucial part of life.
To get by in society and thrive, everyone needs to be able to communicate, so it’s a vital life skill. Language allows children to flourish in school.
It’s vital for reading, writing, learning, managing emotions and building relationships with others.
Raising awareness about communication is important for everybody, whether it be parents, teachers, teaching assistants etc.
Do you think there’s been any particular reason why it’s not come to the forefront sooner?
There’s a lack of awareness and training about communication difficulties such as developmental language disorder.
People tend to not know much about it or how it comes about.
In your role as a Speech and Language Therapist, what do you do yourself to help children with SLCN and raise awareness?
I do quite a lot!
Firstly, I help raise awareness of communication difficulties through training teachers and teaching assistants on how to spot the signs of speech, language and communication problems in children.
I also train them in how to use particular interventions with the children in schools.
I enjoy working closely with parents and other professionals to achieve the best outcomes for the children.
Finally, I run programmes and interventions in schools so it’s a combination of training professionals and helping children directly.
If you could say, what would be the one thing you’d change to help children with SLCN?
Making more parents aware of the signs of speech and language difficulties in children would be the number one thing I’d want to change.
There should also be at least one speech and language therapist in every school as there’s a huge number of children with language and communication needs.
Also, I think more schools should teach communication skills to the children directly.
Additionally, what would be the one thing you’d want to change in your role as a speech and language therapist?
I spend a lot of time doing admin work which could be spent delivering interventions, which is common amongst lots of speech and language therapists.
If I could spend less time doing paperwork, I could deliver more direct therapy.
When you’ve worked with children, what progress have you seen them make and has that impacted on other areas of life?
Depending on the needs of the child, you see them make progress in different ways.
I work on their lisps, stammering, speech sound disorders, vocabulary, communication skills, attention and listening skills and speech and language disorders.
It can have a big impact on their lives, from building friendships to finding a job so it’s important we intervene and support them as much as possible.
Juliet will be beginning her swim in July!
If you’d like to support Juliet’s challenge, you can find out how to donate here!