Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are expert in communication. They treat children and adults who have communication disorders or difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing. Among other disorders, speech and language therapists can help patients with aphasia, dyslexia, stuttering, language delays and voice disorders.
What is a Speech and Language Therapy plan?
SLTs prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders. To establish a therapy plan, the first step would be an assessment through observation, talking to the patient or by using relevant tests. Then, depending on the patient needs, a treatment plan would be set up involving activities, exercises and / or the use of specific strategies to help on a daily basis. These personalised plans are tailored to support patients so that they can reach their treatment targets over time.
A day In The Life Of… Speech and Language Therapists
Working in speech and language therapy implies bringing together science, education, social sciences, languages, linguistics and medicine. SLTs can have a huge impact on the life of the people they’re working with. For instance, they could help an adult who has a stroke to talk again, support premature babies with feeding and swallowing problems or enable a person with motor neurone disease speak through a communication aid.
A day in the life of a SLT is never the same, hence never boring! They can work with children, young people and adults, as part of a multidisciplinary team or as a private practitioner. Speech and Language Therapy can happen in various settings including in hospital wards, in schools and children’s centres, in courtrooms and young offenders’ institutions, in their patients’ home, in day enters as well as independently. To find an independent speech therapist in your region you can the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP) on-line database.
How to become a Speech and Language Therapist?
To become a SLT in the UK, one has to complete a registered, accredited degree-level course. This can be at university or as part of an apprenticeship. University-based degree level courses can be completed at either undergraduate (BSc hons) level or postgraduate (PGDip or MSc) level. Detailed information is available on the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) website. Once successfully completed, the last step to complete to be able to practice as a SLT is to apply to register to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Speech and Language Therapists are considered Allied Health Professionals (AHP).
Around the world…
Depending on the country you’re in, the name “Speech and Language Therapist” might change slightly. Do you know all of them?
- In the US, SLTs are called Speech and Language Pathologists and can choose to be certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associate (ASHA)
- In Australia, they are called Speech Pathologists and part of Speech Pathology Australia (SPA)
- In Hong Kong, they are Speech Therapists and their main association is The Hong Kong Association of Speech Therapists (HKAST)
- In Japan, you would call them Logopedics and they would be part of the Japan Society of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (JSLP)
Noala, the platform for speech and language therapists
If you’re a Speech and Language Therapist, feel free to join our community forum where SLTs from all over the globe share their best practices and can access the latest research papers, which can be very useful for your Continuous Professional Development (CPD).