RALLI, the campaign to raise awareness of language learning impairments was founded by the department's Professor Dorothy Bishop, Families, speech and language practitioners and young people with language impairments celebrated RALLI's two-year anniversary by joining the Rt Hon. John Bercow MP at the House of Commons. Since it launched, the YouTube campaign has been viewed over 160,000 times by a global audience across 186 countries and helped support all those affected by language difficulties.
The event was hosted by Rt Hon. John Bercow MP at the House of Commons with speakers including the founders of RALLI, Professor Dorothy Bishop, Speech and Language Therapist Becky Clark, and Professor Gina Conti-Ramsden. Harry Davies (18), Sophie Franks (33) and Michael Barker (12) also spoke, bringing to life the challenges they face in living with a language impairment and why they volunteered to be a part of RALLI to help improve understanding of these difficulties.
Harry Davies (18) said: "I am proud to be one of the first people to have shared their story of dealing with a speech and language difficulty on the RALLI channel. Before I was diagnosed and got the help I needed, I didn't want to go to school and I felt that I didn't have a brain. I used to feel alone and left behind from my friends. Getting the right teaching and therapy turned my life around and I now want to give back to help others."
Professor Dorothy Bishop, founder of RALLI, said, "Language impairments are hidden difficulties, little recognised and understood. Yet they can affect every aspect of development and without the right support, can have major impacts on a young person’s life. We launched RALLI as a YouTube channel to share stories and the experiences of those with specific language impairment, combining with the expertise of leading practitioners and researchers in the field to help improve understanding of the condition. In two years we have over 160,000 views from a growing global audience proving the scale of the need. Thank you to all of our supporters and above all, to the young people, families and specialists who have been brave enough to share their stories to help others."
Rt Hon. John Bercow MP said: 'I'm privileged to be here to mark the two year anniversary of the RALLI campaign which has helped people affected by language disorders across the globe. It is a cause that is terribly important to me and it is vital that more is done to raise awareness of an issue which has lasting and wide ranging impact on every aspect of development. Well done to all involved in RALLI and I encourage those who haven't seen it yet to get online, watch and share their inspiring videos."
Sophie Franks (33) said: "I volunteered to be filmed for RALLI because I wanted to raise awareness of specific language impairment. People don't understand what it is like to have problems with language; they don't know the impact it has on my life. I wish that there would be a time when I wouldn't need to keep explaining what specific language impairment is. When you have it, expressing yourself is difficult let alone having to keep explaining what the problem is."
Becky Clark, Editor of RALLI and Speech and Language Therapist said, “Today is a really important milestone for the RALLI campaign and chance to thank all those who have been critical to its success. Since we launched, our videos have been viewed by audiences around the world and we’re proud of how many people have found our resources inspiring. We hope that in the years to come we can do even more to help the young people, families and schools affected by language difficulty, a problem that can impact on learning at school, literacy, friendships, self esteem and emotional well being.”