Disability Roadshow Opens In Downpatrick Library

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Colin McGrath, South Down MLA, has welcomed the arrival of the My Journey My Voice disability exhibition roadshow to Downpatrick Library.

My Journey My Voice is a powerful exhibition designed to raise awareness about communication disability. It features photographic portraits and audio recordings of individuals with communication disabilities telling their stories about favourite journeys they’ve taken in the past.

The multimedia exhibition was commissioned by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and is currently being hosted by Libraries NI. It was launched in Kilkeel Library in September and Omagh Library in November. The exhibition will now take pride of place in the Downpatrick Library until 9th January.

At the exhibition launch in Downpatrick Library were (l-r) Margaret McArdle, Downpatrick Library Manager; Attracta McPeake, Speech and Language Therapist; South Down MLA Colin McGrath, and  Ryan Walsh, My Journey My Voice participant (front).
At the exhibition launch in Downpatrick Library were (l-r) Margaret McArdle, Downpatrick Library Manager; Attracta McPeake, Speech and Language Therapist; South Down MLA Colin McGrath, and Ryan Walsh, My Journey My Voice participant (front).

Colin McGrath, a member of the Assembly’s Education Committee, welcomed the exhibition coming to his local constituency of South Down and has encouraged local people to visit the library and experience the exhibition for themselves.

He said: “I was delighted to attend this event and support my local constituent Ryan and all the others who participated in this project.

“Communication is key in our 21st century world and something that many of us simply take for granted. Seeing the work that these individuals have completed is a real inspiration and helps me to understand them better.

“I congratulate Ryan and the others on the project with their success in this work.”

The exhibition can also be viewed online at:

www.myjourneymyvoice.org

Anyone who visits the exhibition (either online or in person) will gain a greater insight into the nature and impact of communication disabilities. Due to their disability, many of those participating have voices and speech that will sound different to listeners. Some use vocalisations which may be unintelligible to anyone other than close family. Others use alternative or augmentative forms of communication (AAC) such as signs and or symbols and others use communication devices that produce electronic speech.

Alison McCullough MBE, RCSLT Head of Northern Ireland Office, spoke about the challenges for those with a communication difficulty. She said: “It is important that society develops a better understanding of communication difficulties and recognises the individual and not just the disability.

“Through education and empowerment initiatives, the RCSLT is working alongside people with communication disabilities to challenge stigma and enable society to become better equipped to understand their communication support needs.”

The portraits can be viewed at Downpatrick library until 6 January.

The RCSLT is taking exhibition bookings for 2017, so if your workplace community group or organisation would be able to host a display please visit;

www.myjourneymyvoice.org

or contact Janet McGookin on Janet.mcgookin@rcslt.org

or 02890 446 385.