I have always had a passion for communication, and as an SLT I specialized in SELECTIVE MUTISM. I support families, write blogs, make videos, raise awareness… and in 2018 I started with training around Scotland.
I would have never imagined being nominated for an award.
They were looking for an individual or organization in the UK who have an excellent plan in place to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLC/N), or have adopted a fresh and innovative approach to longstanding SLC/N challenges or problems.
So one day I receive an email saying that I had been nominated for The Katie Rough Memorial Award, which is open to all settings, organizations, services, and individuals in the UK, for innovative, inspirational or excellent practice when working with children or young people affected by Selective Mutism.
Katie, who had Selective Mutism and sadly, died at the tender age of 7 in 2017. This award is offered in her memory.
I got asked to make a video describing what I had been doing for Selective mutism as well as my word for communication. Here is the video.
So amazed and surprised by this I travel to London to this amazing event which was hosted by Sally Phillips, a British comic actress, and writer; and Lee Ridley (Lost Voice Guy), Britain’s Got Talent winner.
In the list, I was supposed to be 10th but Sally Phillips said “We are going to start the ceremony with the first category… SELECTIVE MUTISM“, which was presented by Victoria Roe. As she was speaking she mentioned…training… videos… and all sorts of amazing things.. that I was thinking… “what a lovely person, I would like to meet this person…” and although she called my name I hadn’t realized that I had won, I thought that I only needed to go up the stage!!!!
It all became real when Katie’s grandmother handed me the award.
WHAT AN AMAZING FEELING.
Joanna McHugh was highly commended for her support in the hospital. It was incredible to connect with her.
I cannot express my joy, excitement, surprise… to be there and receive an award for the work I LOVE, for the awareness for Selective Mutism.
Pearson wrote a lovely press coverage for my journey FINAL SM – Anna Biavati-Smith
Here are some of the photos of the day.
It was an honor to have Lindsay Whittington, Smira co-ordinator and I cannot believe that we were all color coordinated!!
I also met Victoria Joffe, (Speech/Language Therapist, Prof, Child & Adolescent Language & Learning. Associate Dean – International, SHS, City University London), who was impressed with my work… THIS IS ONE TO REMEMBER as I am a big fan of her and now it is reciprocal?? Crazy and lovely at the same time.
I could not stop smiling and this was a day to remember.
“Selective Mutism is my passion as communication is vital for everyone, not only using words. Removing the pressure and believing in the children will help improve their self-esteem and take tiny steps towards communication. Sharing knowledge is fundamentally vital. We need to collaborate and create steps for these children.”