The Hon. Geoff Regan and his wife, the Hon. Kelly Regan joined SAC conference delegates at our banquet in Halifax. Mr. Regan told the remarkable story of his work with a speech-language pathologist — SAC member and fluency expert Joy Armson, S-LP(C) — to overcome a speech disorder as a child and young adult. Mr. Regan holds the prestigious position of Speaker of the House of Commons, an accomplishment made all the more impressive given his previous speech difficulties. Read on for the full text of his speech.
"Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, Kelly and I are really pleased to here with you this evening at the 2016 Speech-Language & Audiology Conference Awards Banquet.
"Tonight, we gather to honour a number of dedicated and talented individuals who have made significant contributions to the SAC or the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.
"Depuis presque quarante ans, Orthophonie et Audiologie Canada reconnaît les accomplissements de personnes qui ont fait des réalisations exceptionnelles dans leur profession. Ces récipiendaires se sont distingués dans leur domaine, que ce soit comme mentor, comme champion, comme recherchiste ou comme défendeur des droits de personnes avec des problèmes de communication.
"I am myself a grateful beneficiary of the valuable work performed by speech-language pathologists.
"When I was younger, I found that I was so eager to express my thoughts and ideas that I couldn’t slow down enough to get the words out clearly, and the delivery would get tangled up. As you can imagine, this affected my sense of confidence, and by the time I reached my twenties I decided I had to find a way to correct the problem.
"So, during the summer of 1982, I dropped into the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Clinic in Halifax to ask for some help. There I met with Dr. Joy Armson, and over the ensuing weeks, she and her student taught me relaxation and visualization techniques, along with the Slow Normal speech pattern. I can’t remember exactly how many weeks or months this lasted, but I found it very helpful.
"Environ dix ans plus tard, j’ai été élu pour la première fois comme député, et je serai toujours reconnaissant pour l’aide que j’ai reçu, qui m’a permis de pouvoir devenir la voix des commettants de Halifax West.
"Today, I have the honour of serving as the 36th Speaker of the House of Commons. I can honestly say I never imagined I would occupy this position, and I can also say, with gratitude, that I could certainly never have done so without Joy’s help and encouragement.
"On behalf of all those whose lives have been improved through your talents and your dedication, thanks to the participants at this year’s SAC conference, and congratulations to the awards recipients.
"Merci et bonne soirée!"