Thursday, 17 March 2011

Making a speech (to the NHS)

Yesterday I had the honour, with knocking knees, to speak at a conference about how the Acute Hospitals look after people with Learning Disabilities. This is a result of taking part in a review process in the South West, following the harrowing findings of the Mencap report: Death by Indifference (among others).
I knew exactly what I wanted to say. That wasn't the problem. The tricky bit was getting the pitch right. I was speaking as a mother about my child, and on behalf of all the parents with special children that I know and do not know. The other speakers were largely in the medical profession or linked to it, and of a mindset and level of understanding. It fell to me to bring it home - a huge responsibility.

I delivered my piece with a large photo of my son behind me, his head in bandages after his last surgery. When I heard the audience chuckle, I knew I had them onside. When I met them teary-eyed afterwards, I knew I had done my job.

It is very difficult to stand up as yourself and deliver a personal message - trust me, it is much easier to act! But to see and hear the impact of your honesty is priceless. I'm glad I put myself through it.

By popular demand (seriously!) a video of the speech will be recorded to the Review website very soon. I will post the link when it's ready.

Simple fact-everything we live through is a life lesson. Sharing it helps.


  1. Well, that made me teary-eyed on its own. Well done, Sinead. Really, well done. I suspect you related both the joy and the pain of looking after a special child, any person with difficulties. Gosh, I really am getting filled up now. Can't wait to see the video. People need to speak out for those who can't easily speak for themselves. Sniffle. Proud of you! xxx

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. WOW Sinead - just reading your blog post has made me starry eyed too. I'm in the process of writing up a blog post about living with dyslexia. It is, as you say, 100% the HARDEST thing to do - stand up and talk about something SO personal. But for the greater good, if I can help and inspire, as you are, in any way, I will. Congratulations Sinead, really well done - I can't wait to see the video.

  4. You were brilliant Sinead, well done - a natural! You made such an impact on the audience, never under estimate the power of words that come from the heart. Its been great working with you on the Review Teams, a real pleasure, and now I can get to know you more through your blog. Looking forward to the novel - and the video - go girl!

  5. Leanne, thank you...I know you get it. Claire, go for it - you are reaching out and inspiring those who read and hear you. Carolyn - mutual pleasure - always good to work with a bright cookie :) Here's to next steps!

  6. Any news re the video, Sinead? Congratulations on the delivery of your speech and the feedback. You spoke on behalf of so many individuals and families, so thank you and well done.