Communication disorders in children pose a significant concern that is often overlooked during their developmental stages. These disorders manifest as impairments in receiving, sending, processing, and comprehending verbal, nonverbal, and graphic symbol systems. Hearing, language, and speech processes are always affected as a result.
The consequences of this in the lives of children include reduced social engagement and adverse impacts on education due to stigma, frustration, bullying, and denial of needs. However, targeted interventions can enhance children’s ability to produce intelligible speech and improve their overall communication skills, facilitating better integration into social settings.
Meanwhile, in the Upper West Region of Ghana, children found with these conditions are mostly left to their fate, and very little efforts are made to help them discover their potential.
In the face of this, Salima Sidiki Sangari, an illustrious daughter of Wa, Upper West Region, has emerged as a true hero for children facing communication disorders. She recently graduated from Ghana’s premier university, the University of Ghana, as a speech therapist and passed her licensure exams as a speech therapist.
Salima has not only marked a personal milestone but has become the first licensed speech therapist in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Salima’s journey began with a profound passion for making a difference in the lives of children and adults struggling with communication disorders as she recognized the lack of specialized support in the region and dedicated herself to pursuing a career that would enable her to address this critical need.
The need for specialized care and integration of children with communication disorders into mainstream social life is the burning desire that led her to found Khad-San Africa. Khad-San Africa is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the forefront of helping both children and adults with communication disorders to overcome their difficulties and unearth their inherent talents and potential.
Before her graduation, Salima, through her non-profit, organized a free communication screening for special needs children of St Don Bosco Special School in Loho in the Upper West Region. The screening was to ascertain the degree of communication disorders among the children to determine the amount of support they require for the performance of daily activities. The program, which benefitted about 55 children, was not just an assessment; it was a beacon of hope for parents, teachers, and, most importantly, the children.
Salima’s dedication to empowering the community with knowledge about speech and language disorders is a testament to her vision of inclusivity and accessibility to specialized care. By sharing her expertise, she has not only laid the foundation for enhanced support within the educational system but has also opened doors for children to thrive in their academic and social environments.
Following her successful graduation, Salima expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to pioneer change in her beloved region. “I believe every child deserves a life where he or she can express himself or herself, and I am honored to be a part of ensuring they are heard,” she said.
One can see Salima’s achievement as beyond personal success but as a triumph for the entire Upper West Region. As the first licensed speech therapist, she has set a precedent for others to follow, inspiring a new generation of professionals dedicated to positively impacting the lives of children with communication disorders.
Indeed, Salima Sidiki Sangari is a true hero who is paving the way for brighter and more inclusive futures for the children of the Upper West Region.