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Sonally Nyota

Sonally Nyota

'My favourite placement has been with a community neuro-rehab team – I got to see and work with adults with a range of communication difficulties.'

How did you develop an interest in Speech and Language and why did you choose to study BSc Speech and Language Therapy?
In my GCSEs, I knew I wanted to help people, and when you’re younger the first thing you think of doing is becoming a Doctor. So I went for a work experience when I was 16 in a hospital. Although I enjoyed aspects of it, in my one week there, I fainted at the sight of blood, and I felt it wasn’t really for me. I was at a dilemma because I still wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do.

I went to a SLT as a child, as I was a late talker. At the time, so in 1997, in Nairobi, there weren’t many SLTs, so I went to an expat SLT for a while. My mum remembers how difficult it was for her to find a SLT. With this in mind then and with my mum’s help, I decided I’ll trial the world of health professionals, maybe I’ll try SLT. I got an opportunity to shadow a SLT in a special school, and really enjoyed it straight away, so I chose my A levels based on my interests and this profession, and the next step was getting onto a BSc program.

Why did you choose to study at City, University of London?
I chose City, because it's one of the top schools for SLT. Also, being in London, there’s scope for having a variety of placements across the boroughs in London. In addition, City is in the heart of London – a very cosmopolitan city, where everyone seems to fit in and belong.

What has been your favourite part of your course so far and why?
I have enjoyed the communication disorder modules in year 2 and 3. Although they are larger modules, this is when the theory of the course becomes more applicable. Parts of the modules are sometimes taught by expertise in the area: by both in house and external lecturers.

What has been a highlight on the course for yourself?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the variety of placement I’ve had. My favourite has been with a community neuro-rehab team – I got to see and work with adults with a range of communication difficulties.

Have you participated in any extracurricular activities at City? For example, being a student rep, taking part in any student union societies, volunteering.
This year my peers and I have brought back the City SLT Society. I am in the committee, as the Communications Officer. Our ethos is creating a SLT community for the students at City.This semester we have organised socials, fundraising for ICAN and Shout Out Sancer and a monthly lecturer series.
I am also a student representative for the BSc 4s this year.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at City?
I have enjoyed the SLT related opportunities on campus.

How have you found the teaching on your course?
Teaching has been very good on the course. There is a lot to cover, but we are well supported by all our lecturers.

How have you benefited from the facilities available at City? (eg Roberta Williams Speech and Language Therapy Centre)?
This semester I have been lucky to be volunteering as a communication partner for an aphasia group run by Reconnect at the Roberta Williams Speech and Language Therapy Centre.

Could you tell us about your placements; where have you been based? What have you enjoyed most? What aspects have you found most challenging?

I have been based in an autism resource base for under 5s, a children’s health centre, a community neuro rehab centre, and my most recent, was abroad, and independent practice specialising in autism across the lifespan – this was in Perth, Western Australia.

My favourite placements have been the community neuro-rehab and my Australian one, because of the variety of clients I had an opportunity to work with. Also, I had amazing practice educators who provided me with several learning opportunities on placement.

To be honest I think the most challenging aspect about being on placement is balancing your academic and placement work, especially during the year, when you are going in once a week.

How will your placements help you with your future career?

Placement puts our theory in practice, and a lot of what is expected from us as SLTs in the future is learned at placement, by combining what we already know with real life settings and clients. It may also direct one’s preference in what type of client group you would like to work with.

What are you looking most forward to during the rest of your time at City, University of London?

I am looking forward to my final placement. I have been allocated a paired, inpatient hospital acute setting.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I hope to apply for an adult rotation job, and complete my competencies to fully qualify as a SLT.

What would be your advice to anyone considering studying BSc Speech and Language Therapy?

If you are considering this degree, first, it may be a good idea to think about the different client groups SLTs work with, and if you can, try get some experience – you may already have some!  Also it may be useful to attend university open days, to fully understand the prerequisites of this course. Remember passion and interest goes a long way, so start early, and try one of my top tips out! All the best!