ASLTIP Speech and Language Therapist awarded Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship

Date: 13th July 2014

Posted on: 13-07-2014

This week we are putting the spotlight on one of our accomplished ASLTIP members. Claire Bolton, Director of Apex Ability Limited this year undertook a seven-week Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship (www.wcmt.org.uk) across North America, studying the use of music and singing within both Speech & Language Therapy and Music Therapy to improve clients’ communication skills.


Claire is an experienced Speech & Language Therapist / Life Coach who has worked and travelled in both Australia and the UK. With a musical background, Claire is interested in music therapy and has experienced how that complements speech-language pathology. She has attended international music therapy conferences and liaises with a worldwide network of professionals. As a choral singer, Claire has gained specialist skills as a voice therapist, working with professional voice users (including teachers, sports coaches, radio announcers, call centre staff and singers).


During Claire’s fellowship, she visited leading hospitals, rehabilitation centres, clinics, long-term care facilities, The Laurier Centre for Music Therapy Research at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Canadian Association for Music Therapy’s annual conference during her journey from Vancouver to New York, via Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Montreal.


These organisations are all successfully using music to address communication goals for people affected by brain injuries (including strokes and tumours), dementia, neurological conditions (including Parkinson’s disease) and autism. With an aging population it is important to strengthen collaboration between Music Therapists and Speech & Language Therapists to increase treatment options for clients, a partnership that Claire plans to promote and develop further. She has begun to contact London-based music therapists in order to determine how they can work together, whether it is joint sessions or referring between the two professions.


Claire said “The Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship has been a life-changing opportunity. I’ve returned with endless practical ideas, particularly around the use of Melodic Intonation Therapy, as well as basic percussion skills which support pre-communication and non-verbal skills. This is something that Speech & Language Therapists already treat in both children and adults (e.g. attention, turn-taking, imitation, intensive interaction and cause & effect) but including a Music Therapist in sessions has been observed to result in clients being more motivated, due to the fun and creative nature of music. I admire the skills of Music Therapists and believe that involving them in treatment that addresses communication goals can result in better outcomes. Besides this, I have returned with books and articles, and gained an extended global network of new colleagues and friends.”


Claire plans to share the information from her Fellowship amongst the professional networks of Speech & Language Therapists in the UK and Australia, as well as interested Music Therapists. She also encourages ASLTIP members to consider applying for the Fellowship and similar schemes.


ASLTIP congratulate Claire on her achievement!


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