The Speech Therapy Department at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) in Cape Town has teamed up with the young radio reporters at RX Radio to help children with speech-related difficulties be better understood.
Chantel du Toit, a speech therapist at the hospital, has a special interest in helping children communicate more effectively by means of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).
She approached the RX Radio team to allow AAC users to choose a voice match according to their age, ethnicity, gender and language (English, isiXhosa, Afrikaans and a bit of isiZulu). This personalises the process and greatly assists in the uptake and acceptance of AAC in general.
A total of 14 young RX Radio reporters participated in the voice donation project. Their voices, a collection of everyday words and simple phrases, will be stored on a device that will assist these children.
One of these reporters was 16-year-old Talitha Counter from Khayelitsha. “For me personally, being a part of a project where children are helped to form their words is a great deal. And it brings me joy knowing that I also had an impact on the child’s life. I’m also very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this great project,” she said.
Nurroonisha Pienaar (10) from Steenberg said it was “wonderful to be part of such an amazing project, in helping children who is not able to speak. And I had so much fun doing it and hope it helps them and makes their life easier.”
“This is a very significant project for our reporters who have conditions that somehow limit and hinder them from taking part in a range of activities. This was empowering for them, being in a position to assist someone who has a condition that in a way limits them. As they also know how it feels like to be limited by their respective conditions, ” says RX Radio Station Manager, Noluyolo Yolie Ngomani.
“Even though the project was not conceptualized at RX Radio it really spoke to what the station stands for, and we feel very fortunate that Chantel approached us and made us part of this exciting project.”
Dr Anita Parbhoo, Acting CEO of the RCWMCH added: “We’re always looking at ways to improve the lives of our patients. It’s what we do, it’s part of us all here at Red Cross. Chantel and the Speech Therapy team, together with RX Radio did an amazing job and we are certain that this will have a positive impact on the children of the Western Cape and South Africa.”