“B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen nu-nu-nu-nuthin’ yet….” – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Communication and swallowing disorders do not discriminate. They strike the tiniest of babies through to our oldest family members.

We all have an important role to play in helping others cope with their challenges. It may be support as a loving family member, close friend, health professional or we may be that stranger offering an understanding smile to brighten somebody else’s day.

No person is immune to acquiring a communication and/or swallowing disorder. Sadly, there are children who are born with feeding difficulties and struggle to latch onto the breast and in some cases latching onto the teat of the bottle is difficult. In some instances this may be a co-existing issue related to a congenital disorder.

There are adults who, unfortunately, have the burden of head and neck cancer thrust upon them and in extreme cases may require a voice prosthesis if the larynx has been completely removed. Managing this voice prosthesis at home takes time and care to ensure appropriate hygiene is in place.

There are even the not-so-young adults who start to lose their memory and forget to swallow the food that is in their mouth. Dementia is a terrible condition that is not only scary for the sufferer, but for that person’s family. It is really tough to watch the decline in condition.

Even celebrities are not immune to having these difficulties. James Earl Jones who voiced Darth Vader from the Star Wars movies suffered from a stuttering disorder. Tom Cruise has had to deal with Dyslexia; Michael J Fox continues to try to manage a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

Communication and swallowing disorders are prevalent, and they are even more highlighted when a celebrity has to manage a condition whilst in the spotlight. No matter what race, socio-economic background, or gender we are, we are not immune to acquiring a communication and/or swallowing disorder.

It is how we manage the condition that sets us apart from the rest.