What’s all this about ice buckets?

Date: 20th October 2014

Posted on: 20-10-2014

 Have you seen all the celebrity videos popping up in your social media news feeds – the ones of them throwing a bucket of ice water over themselves? This social media phenomenon has seen high profile figures like Bill Gates, David Beckham and Lady Gaga, responding to challenges (usually from their famous friends) to do the #icebucketchallenge with the aim of raising awareness of motor neurone disease (MND) (or ALS as Americans refer to the disease). 

This has been a viral campaign which has helped the MNDA and the equivalent associations around the world raise a reported £14million. It will also raise awareness of MND, and hopefully the ways in which speech and language therapists can help.

What do we know about MND?

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. However, not all symptoms necessarily happen to everyone and it is unlikely they will all develop at the same time, or in any specific order.Although there is currently no cure for MND, symptoms can be managed to help you achieve the best possible quality of life.

How do speech and language therapists help people with MND?

* contribute to the assessment process. Sometimes a person is referred to a speech therapist due to changes in their speech or swallowing before they have been diagnosed by a neurologist.
* provide assessment of communication and swallowing function
* provide education and advice regarding the current status of someone’s communication and ways to help make communication easier via compensatory strategies and environmental changes.
* provide assessment, advice, training and support in using communication strategies
* provide assessment, advice, training and support in using augmentative communication aids – both high tech and low tech
* provide assessment of swallowing function and advice considering ways to optimise the safety and ease of eating and drinking, which may include modifying food and fluid consistencies

Speech and language therapists would work with colleagues across different disciplines and a team approach is important for working with people with MND as there are often many issues to consider.

More info about the Ice Bucket Challenge – MNDA UK

Blog publication does not imply endorsement by ASLTIP



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