Posted: Mon 1st Apr 2024

North Wales MS raises awareness of swallowing difficulties with taste test for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

A North Wales MS has gotten a taste of what life is like for people who experience difficulties when it comes to swallowing.

Llŷr Gruffydd MS, who represents the region in the Senedd, took part in a tasting session with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in a bid to raise awareness of the issue for Swallowing Awareness Day on March 13.

Mr Gruffydd, of Plaid Cymru, undertook the session with the help of Ffion Roberts, a speech and language therapist from Wrexham University, and made a video of it which he shared on social media.

A buffet of modified food was on offer at the Senedd to showcase how the texture of food may need to be changed according to patients needs and to find out about adaptions which can be made to improve people’s quality of life.

Swallowing Awareness Day aims to bring attention to how speech and language therapists help people living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

Eating, drinking and swallowing is an essential part of most people’s day and is often taken for granted, but for some people it is not that easy.

Dysphagia, or eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, can affect a person’s quality of life and can lead to other health complications.

This is why speech and language therapists have a pivotal role in this area.

Llŷr Gruffydd MS said: “Swallowing is something we very often take for granted. But if you’ve had a stroke or you’ve had cancer, or if you have other medical conditions, very often the process of swallowing isn’t at all easy, if possible at all.

“I’ve been working with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to try to understand a bit more about those challenges and to help raise awareness, and as part of that I agreed to drink liquids – but not liquids as you would expect them to be.

“I added some thickener which is something many people who struggle to swallow need to use. It comes in the form of a powder which is then added to the liquid.

“It doesn’t affect the taste but it transforms the thickness of the liquid, and the more powder you use the thicker it becomes.

“This is something some people have to do every day to be able to drink, something many of us just take for granted.

“I would like to thank Ffion and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for giving me the opportunity to learn more about this issue.”

You can view video of Llŷr Gruffydd taking part in the tasting session here:

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