Speech-language therapy gave me confidence to eat out, says cancer survivor

A tongue cancer survivor said speech and language therapy helped her regain her confidence so she could join her family in eating out again.

Karen Liesching-Schroder sought medical help in 2015 when what she thought was an ulcer became excruciatingly painful.

He was surprised when he was diagnosed with cancer the following year because he was a fit and healthy person who had never smoked and drank very little alcohol. She associated mouth cancers with older people who smoked and drank.

The nursery nurse at the school, in Rochford, Essex, said a speech therapist helped her regain her confidence after surgery.

“Amelia helped me find strategies to deal with my problems swallowing and eating in public,” Karen told the PA news agency.

“He also helped me with exercises to help strengthen and straighten my tongue; some of them mechanically impossible and others that with time, practice and perseverance, gave results.

“We also worked on a food diary where I had to try different foods and report back to her.”

Karen said it was “a boost” to see how much she had improved when she repeated a survey that was completed when she was first tested: “Amelia helped me with my speaking, eating and confidence and it was because of her that I was able to start eating out with my family again.”

When Karen suffered late effects from radiation therapy and severe nerve pain in the area of ​​her tongue that had been removed last year, she stopped doing speech therapy exercises to make everyday life a little easier with pain control.

“It was harder to understand and I had issues with trust,” he told PA, but he found it helpful to use Makaton, which uses symbols, signs and speech to communicate.

“I started presenting Makaton with my family at home so they could understand me more easily. I taught them the alphabet signs for the sounds I couldn’t make and the basic signs to help us. I’ve also incorporated Makaton into my classroom environment, which has helped me and the kids with speech and language issues.”

Karen is currently working with highly specialized speech therapist Richard Cave, whom she met through the Mouth Cancer Foundation, for which she is a patient ambassador and runs a support group page.

Mr. Cave, who is also an adviser to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, posted about the Android voice app Project Relate, which aims to help people with non-standard speech communicate more easily with others.

“I was excited because I thought this would be perfect for people like me who have speech problems,” Karen said.

“Once I got the app up and running and started recording voice cards for the phone to recognize my voice, I got more excited.

“Richard wanted to reach more people so I’ve been posting about this to encourage more mouth cancer patients to come forward and try this as it’s a free app.

“As a speech therapist, Richard has recognized many of the obstacles patients like me face, when we go to a cafe and try to order a cappuccino or in a restaurant and order a vegetarian lasagna.

“When we can’t pronounce those important sounds, at least with a voice app trained to understand all our mechanical difficulties with sounds, the voice app can help us with this.

“This app is going to be very important for people like me.

“I wouldn’t have known about this if it hadn’t been for speech therapists like Richard who want to make our lives better.”


Leave a Reply