Working Life: Aoife O'Shea, HSE Happy Talk

Aoife O’Shea, HSE senior speech and language therapist, coordinator of Happy Talk, currently redeployed to Pairc Uí Chaoimh
Working Life: Aoife O'Shea, HSE Happy Talk
Aoife O’Shea, HSE Senior Speech and Language Therapist / Coordinator of Happy Talk / Currently Redeployed to Pairc Uí Chaoimh
Aoife O’Shea, HSE Senior Speech and Language Therapist / Coordinator of Happy Talk / Currently Redeployed to Pairc Uí Chaoimh

Aoife O’Shea, HSE senior speech and language therapist, coordinator of Happy Talk, currently redeployed to Pairc Uí Chaoimh

7am

If I’m working in Pairc Uí Chaoimh testing centre (PUC) I have a big breakfast and wear multiple layers. It’s chilly down there in the PUC tunnel.

8am

Work in the Testing Centre starts with a morning meeting. Our supervisors in PUC, Ann Marie Healy and Susan Lehane, are Titans, coordinating a service and a team that didn’t exist two months ago. They keep the show on the road, but more importantly, they keep our spirits up and keep us smiling.

9am

When not in PUC I’m at Happy Talk – HSE where I think of the other Titans in my life; children, parents and educators, our Happy Talkers! To say we are missing them is an understatement. Nibbles (the Happy Talk rabbit) lives in The Glen, near the Big Silver Train, and though she sometimes sees Happy Talkers out walking, it’s not the same.

A Happy Talk morning starts by getting online, checking emails and the Happy Talk Facebook page. This is how we are connecting with Happy Talkers right now.

11am

Everyone who comes for testing to PUC is a little nervous, and who can blame them. We look like aliens in all that PPE and they are driving in to let us swab them - twice. But I hear my colleagues in PUC talk to people like they are heroes or long-lost cousins.  'Thanks for coming to see us, John'; 'Well done Mary, you were so brave'; 'Bridget, I wish you every good health'. These are colleagues I would never have had an opportunity to work with, let alone meet, in ordinary times. They are conscientious, resourceful and hilariously funny. Laughter is our saving grace these days.

2pm

In Happy Talk, we have partnered with a hard-working bunch of students from the speech and language therapy department in UCC. They have been helping us develop the Happy Talk Language Packs which are emailed every week to over a thousand people and posted on Facebook for all to share. The Happy Talk Language Packs explore a weekly theme and provide language, literacy and learning activities and games.

You can find the Language Packs at our Facebook Page ‘Happy Talk’ or email

aoife.oshea@hse.ie or visit www.hse.ie/happytalk for more information.

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We want to help you to connect with the people you love, but may not see, this Christmas.  Every Saturday, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we will publish your messages in print and online, starting November 28.

Say it here, in the Irish Examiner.