Having a speech impairment, I’ve always hated the sound of my own voice. Not only that, but I have at times, struggled to make other people understand me.
So when I started promoting my first book, “Does it wet the bed?”, my publicists, Literally PR, asked what types of activities I’d be comfortable doing. “Anything,” I replied, “except radio.” I feared other people disliking my voice as much as I did and turning off their radios in frustration at not understanding a word I said.
But then I paused just to think about it. Disability is still misunderstood and disabled people are still overlooked. And why? Because disability is shied away from in every aspect of life, but especially by the media. Yes, we occasionally see disabled people on TV but I can’t never help feeling that this is a “token gesture” – disabled people are seen which is great but we are very rarely heard. Disabled characters in my favourite soaps are a massive step forward but their lives and the issues they face on a daily basis are rarely highlighted or explored.
By shying away from radio, I realised, I was feeding the problem. So what if my speech is slow and people need to listen a little more carefully? So what if a few impatient listeners tune out? Society needs to be more exposed to disability in order to be more understanding and accepting of it.
Since then, I’ve done two radio interviews and received brilliant feedback from both. I’ve actually enjoyed them! My confidence is definitely growing and I’m proud to be helping to bring disability into the media spotlight.