Luton radio producer receives award for BBC documentary on speech disorder
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A Luton-born radio producer received an award for his BBC documentary about speech disorders.
Sean Allsop was awarded the Giving Voice Award from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist (RCSLT) for his BBC World Service documentary ‘The Travelling Speech Therapist’.
Luton-born Sean grew up with a phonological sound disorder, meaning he couldn’t talk until he was eight. He said: “It was very difficult for my parents to aquire me a speech therapist, I never saw it as having a speech disorder.
"I started to become understandable by age eight and It was only when I got older, I realised all the hard work that went into regular exercises to help me to talk.”
Sean added: “I was very lucky to have an incredibly supportive network with family and school who would regularly do these activities but having an actual speech therapist to assess me and give guidance to my family was hard to aquire due to a shortage.
“It was also hard for everyone around me because they just had no idea what I was saying, so i spent a lot of my childhood pointing at things.”
Sean wanted to explore what was being done in places with no help available.
He added: “I heard speech therapy was getting harder and harder to access in this country and many places across the world. The idea had not been explored much before and the BBC was keen for me to look into it, especially with my personal experience.
“I found it crazy watching these kids go through the same exercises I did growing up. I spoke with one kid who had a similar condition to me, I got to tell him that I too had trouble speaking and that he was doing a great job doing exercises, was like I was talking to my past self.”
Sean dreamt of being a broadcaster and said he found the world of audio to be really immersive, especially the documentaries.
He said: “As a kid, I listened to the radio at building sites on school holidays. I started working for Audio Always in 2021 as a factual producer, making radio documentaries and podcasts on various subjects.”
Sean added: “I mostly love telling stories regardless if I present, I know I don't sound like the typical broadcaster but I like how I sound and don't want to put on a ‘proper voice’ for the radio.
"I have the best job in the world, getting to tell stories about remarkable people about amazing subjects.”
Sean received positive feedback for the documentary. He said: “I feel incredibly proud I was able to raise awareness of speech disorders and the hard work that goes into speech therapy. I've heard from speech therapists and parents of children with speech disorders about how they enjoyed the program.
"When the RCSLT gave me an award for that also it made me so proud because they are such an important group helping so many people get access to speech therapy, I owe much of my life to speech therapy and am happy I had the opportunity tell a story about its importance.”
He added: "It meant a lot to me as I owe much of my life to speech therapy.”