Friday 30 November 2018


During this year’s International Day of People with Disability, which falls on the 3rd of December, Bass Coast Health (BCH) client Kim Allan would like to share the message - “Don’t be afraid to talk to people like me, to allow the time we need to communicate”.


Kim suffered a life changing stroke which left her with a severe expressive speech difficulty three and a half years ago.  Kim can understand what is said to her but struggles to express herself.  Despite this, Kim has worked diligently in her Speech Pathology sessions, and with the love and support of her daughter Esther, continues to move onwards.


Kim’s loss of speech remains a major frustration, however this doesn’t mean she can’t communicate and participate in her community.


Communication is much more than being able to form words and sentences.  Kim uses a ‘total communication’ approach which means she expresses herself with some words and sentences, and also uses natural gestures, body language, facial expressions, pointing and using an app on her phone to spell some words.  More recently she has commenced using key word sign to improve her communication and is investigating a more high-tech device to aid her further. 


Communication partners also play an important part in ensuring Kim’s success. Being courageous in maintaining friendships, allowing time and assisting people suffering a communication loss is key to the person conveying their message.


From the outset, Kim’s attitude has been one of keeping positive, staying busy, going about life as normally as possible and participating in her community.  While this has been challenging and at times she has felt quite lost and overwhelmed, her message for people who are struggling with a disability is to “have hope and never give up” - which she is living testament to.


Kim continues with everyday tasks such as keeping her home, gardening and shopping. She enjoys going out with friends to meals and shows, has travelled independently to Queensland and enjoyed overseas trips to Fiji, Bali and Thailand, crochets, and walks her dog each day where she connects with familiar faces.  Kim thoroughly recommends a companion animal for people with a disability and has really blossomed since she adopted her beautiful dog Gracie. 


Kim feels empowered, connected and included in her community through participation in groups and volunteering. She walks with a local walking group weekly and attends BCH’s Communication Skills Support Group fortnightly where she can meet and connect with people who understand communication loss.  Kim also volunteers every week at the Anglican Church Community Meal and assisting the Allied Health team in the development of therapy aids BCH.

Pictured above: Kim Allan getting into the Christmas spirit with Santa at Bass Coast Health Communication Skills Support Group