Meet Kimberley: Children's Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
As part of our NHS 70 celebrations this week we will be proudly sharing a staff story each day to showcase our exceptional colleagues and the lifetime of care we offer!
Today we are introducing you to Kimberley Freeman, a Children’s Specialist Speech and Language Therapist based at Armley Health Centre.
Who do you care for?
I care for children and young people under 19 with speech, language or communication difficulties.
Describe what you do.
I work in schools, nurseries and health centres. I assess the difficulties each young person is experiencing. I provide the therapy myself, or sometimes it is delivered by our Therapy Assistants. I also train parents and school staff to provide support as needed.
Therapy is often delivered through play, especially with younger visitors. It often looks like we are just blowing bubbles or playing pop-up pirate – we are doing more than that I promise !
We are trying to help young people to maximise their communication skills and reach their potential. This might mean talking as you would expect somebody of their age would, using communication aids, gestures, signing or increasing their interaction with others.
We try to make it as fun as possible whilst looking at both verbal and non-verbal interactions, their understanding and use of language, use of sentences and vocabulary. As children get older, we can do this through conversation.
How long have you worked for the NHS?
For eight years, I have worked in this team for six.
What do you enjoy most about working for the NHS?
It has to be the people I work with! No two days are the same, even if you are seeing the same children. You get different reactions to activities and have very different conversations.
You get to make a difference to their lives, how they grow up and make progress.
My colleagues are also great! They’re very supportive; we use each other’s skills and learn from each other, it’s a really nice environment.
Describe your proudest moment.
When I get to discharge children who have had really severe difficulties because they don’t need our help anymore.
We see some young people regularly from a young age, until they move on to high school or sixth form. You often don’t see huge changes from week to week but it’s great to look back and see how far they have come!
I work in a high school and last year I saw two pupils working towards their GCSEs who had disordered language. They achieved grades good enough to go on to sixth form; they are now doing A-levels and are talking about University! That was a very proud moment.