Friday, 1 October 2010

Speech and Language Therapist? What's that then??

We had a local group meeting for the association of speech and language therapists in independent (ASLTIP) practise last night. We had decided to have 3 presentations about 3 different aspects of our work. Christine Charles discussed a case of severe stammering, Franky Shepperson reported on ASD from a parent's and professional perspective and Sumathi Sinnapan shared her quest to have vitalstim therapy recognised in the UK.

What occurred to me most was that all three women were completely passionate about what they did. They are skilled, knowledgeable and expert in their field. It also reminded me of how fantastic  it is to be a speech and language therapist. Human communication is one of the most wonderful achievements and to be able to study it and use the knowledge gained to assist people is really a privilege.

Unfortunately in a busy, over stretched NHS, we easily forget this! It also means we tend to keep quiet about what we can do. I thought a reminder was needed, this is taken from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website:

Speech and language therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing in children and adults. Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are allied health professionals. They work closely with parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors. There are around 11,500 practising SLTs in the UK.  
They work in:
·         Community clinics
·         Hospital wards
·         outpatient departments
·         mainstream and special schools
·         children's centres
·         day centres
·         clients' homes
·         courtrooms
·         prisons
·         young offenders' institutions
·         independently/in private practice

Speech and language therapists work with:
Babies with:
·         feeding and swallowing difficulties
Children with:
·         mild, moderate or severe learning difficulties
·         physical disabilities
·         language delay
·         specific language impairment
·         specific difficulties in producing sounds
·         hearing impairment
·         cleft palate
·         stammering
·         autism/social interaction difficulties
·         dyslexia
·         voice disorders
·         selective mutism
Adults with
·         communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease and dementia
·         head, neck or throat cancer
·         voice problems
·         mental health issues
·         learning difficulties
·         physical disabilities
·         stammering
·         hearing impairment

How can I become a Speech & Language Therapist?

All speech and language therapists must complete a recognised three- or four-year degree course and register with the 
Health Professions Council before being able to practise. The courses combine academic study and practice/clinical placements.

Most courses require three A-level passes or five Scottish highers as minimum entry qualifications. Some courses require specific GCSE and A-levels, such as English and biology, so check the entry requirements with each university.
The practical components of the courses are very important. These may take place in schools, NHS hospitals and community health clinics and are designed to develop skills in assessing and treating people with communication disorders.

For more information contact the Royal College of SLTs  on or  For more about Small Talk Speech & Language Therapy

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