Everyone likes a bit of recognition. Even the ones who shy away from the spotlight can’t deny that being acknowledged for something you have achieved gives you a little warm glow inside.
What with it being the national year of communication and all, it makes sense to use this time to bring to light those special individuals and teams who have really run the extra mile to support children’s communication development. So often those people go unheard and unappreciated and therefore the work they do and the impact it has also gets left in the shadows.
This is perhaps the underlying significance of the awards. They not only celebrate the individuals and the work they do, but they shine a light on the issue of communication itself. One of the ongoing struggles for those working within the sector of children’s education and development, is the invisibility of communication difficulties. Speech, language and communications needs are not always manifested in some form of physical disability, in fact a lot of the time they are manifested in silence. More to the point, the development of a child’s communication skills is often presumed to develop as naturally as walking, making it a tough job for people to know what to look out for.
These awards are not only a chance for young people, employers, multi-agency teams and many more to get the recognition they deserve, but it’s also an opportunity for them to really help send a vital message out there to those with less experience in children’s communication development. Highlighting the best practice out there is a positive and encouraging way of turning the invisible into the visible. It breaks it down, makes it tangible, evident, and provides a foundation on which others can work from. We hope these awards are inspiring and motivating, not only to those who are already doing fantastic work with children’s communication, but also to those who don’t understand the issue so well.
It makes me think back to those uncontrollable moments in school of shoving your hand up desperately, when the teacher asks a question that you know, only you, know the answer to. They are quite often the only moments when the rest of the class listens. Of course this analogy is not like for like in every detail, and it might have been just me who did that, but I suppose the key thing to take from it, is that level of excitement and pride one feels when they want to show off, and also the legacy that that excitement and pride can leave for others to take on and develop.
This is a chance to stop, look at what you and people around you are doing to support children’s communication, shout about it, share your pride and ultimately spread the word – children’s communication development is fundamental to their happiness and future development and we are all responsible in some way or another for making sure no child is left out or left behind.