You may not have heard of The Sequal Trust but we have been supplying communication aids to severely disabled children and adults throughout the UK, who have either no natural vocal ability or who have disabilities which make them isolated, since 1969.
In these 52 years we have provided so many individuals with the tools to enable them to convey their most basic needs; to integrate with Society, to further their education and employment prospects, and to allow them a greater degree of independence and so reach their full potential.
Specialised communication aids vary depending on the need of the person, from iPads with speech apps, to eye operated devices, and everything in between. Some of the more technical aids have inbuilt facilities which offer so much more to the user than just communication, with opportunities to improve learning skills and social interaction. But, for the user, managing on limited incomes, the cost of purchasing such systems is totally beyond their means. When an individual does not meet NHS criteria for funding, they and their healthcare professionals turn to The Sequal Trust in the knowledge that we can make a real difference to their lives, by providing the exact device suited to their needs – including wheelchair mounts, where necessary.
So many forms of disability present communication problems. Happily, for most people, the technology is available to overcome the frustration and sense of isolation experienced by people who are non-verbal. Fundraising has never been an easy task and grows more challenging year after year but our reward is being able to see positive outcomes – the change in a person’s life when issued with the systems they so desperately need to live independent and stress free lives; to allow Society to see their personality and not just their disability.
However, the more technically developed the device, the more expensive it is, and as we do not receive any statutory funding, we know only too well that we would not be able to continue our work if it was not for the support and generosity of fund giving charities and individuals who are able to provide donations to help us purchase the required equipment.
The current Covid-19 situation has deeply affected us all and as a service provider for disabled people, we have been really concerned that people requiring our assistance have been experiencing their challenges in silence. Silence, because they do not have the natural ability of speech and so cannot ask for the help they need. How frightening it must be to be in pain or needing a hand to hold when you are totally unable to express your needs. This is what our service users experience on a daily basis, unless we are able to provide them with the communication aids they require, in order to live more independently.
Fundraising is only one aspect of our work. It is imperative to arrange an independent professional assessment of the individual’s exact needs. This is done via liaison with the healthcare professional attached to each case. This ensures that the most appropriate system is recommended. Ongoing support is also provided, after issue of the equipment, for as long as we are needed and we repair and maintain the devices at our own cost, to ensure that there is no anxiety or cost involved for the member.
Communication is an essential part of living; being without the ability to interact with family and loved ones is something that most of us would find difficult to endure. It is now possible to empower a person of any age, from a couple of years old through to senior citizenship, with the means to live and not just exist.
Disabled people have so much to offer. The world of mathematics and cosmology would be very different without the brilliance of our late patron, Professor Stephen Hawking, who was as well known for his artificial voice as for his theories. Lately, our newest patron, Lee Ridley, better known by his stage name, ‘Lost Voice Guy’, has been able to present his gift of making people laugh, solely due to the communication device he uses to showcase his act as a stand-up comedian. Who knows how many more individuals out there have as much to offer, given the chance?
Following the lockdown, when service users were unable to obtain home visits by their speech and language therapists, in order to assess their needs, the applications for our help are now flooding in…
- For children with autism or severe learning difficulties, the sooner we can provide our services, the more rapid the progress in communication and education.
- For middle aged people who may have cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy but still have a lot of life experience to offer in the workplace.
- For older people who have experienced a stroke for example, so that they can impart their knowledge and wisdom, keep in touch with family and friends – or just to remain safe when they cannot be heard.
Everyone, of any age, has the right to free speech no matter what form it takes.
Our mission of ‘Setting lively minds free’ is not just an empty motto – it is a truism, a promise that The Sequal Trust can change lives for the better by providing the most suitable communication devices, tailored to each individual’s requirements and so enabling them to lead a fuller, more independent life.
Get in touch with The Sequal Trust
If you need our help, or know of someone who does, then don’t hesitate to get in touch, either by phone, email or directly through our website where you can find our application forms. And if you can help us, by way of a donation, no matter how small, in order to provide these systems, then please get in touch.
Phone: 01691 624 222