Nikita is a MSc Speech and Language Therapy student. She has enjoyed her time on placement working with SEN children in nursery and early years.
What were you doing before you came to study at City?
Before I started my master’s I was working full-time as a Learning Support Assistant and Special Educational Needs (SEN) Administrator at a secondary school in London.
I originally graduated seven years ago with a BA in History and have since held several jobs in marketing, editing and the education sector.
How did you develop an interest in your course and why did you choose to study this course?
Working with SEN students showed me the impact of professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists. I originally became interested in Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) after volunteering with the Stroke Association and Aphasia Re-Connect during the first national lockdown and re-evaluating the importance of language and communication.
Why did you choose to study at City?
City is known for its on-site Speech and Language Therapy clinic, the Roberta Williams Centre. This is a great resource for students and service users alike as students can undertake placements there and several of the service users that I had volunteered with had spent time there.
I also particularly liked City’s emphasis on practical learning and clinical experience.
What has been your favourite thing about studying this course?
My cohort has been encouraged to act on our own initiative and really think for ourselves, whether that be organising study groups on campus or finding relevant mini placements away from campus.
This course really allows you to think about which direction you would like to head in after graduation, while giving you a solid foundation in all areas of Speech and Language Therapy.
What is your favourite thing about studying at City?
I have really enjoyed the number of opportunities that City offers to students, from work experience and volunteering on clinical studies to working with Unitemps and City’s own Student Ambassador schemes.
I’ve also been given a second-year mentor to help me with any questions I may have.
How have you found the teaching and facilities on your course?
The tutors have done a great job of bringing their own experience to the course. The addition of specific clinical tutors is particularly helpful in this respect and offers a fresh perspective from the current SLT industry.
I would also highlight that our tutors have made a real effort to represent service users by inviting them to come to our sessions and give talks, for example, on the impact of living with a stammer, or the educational experiences of an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) user.
Where have you been on your clinical placements, and what have you enjoyed most about these experiences?
I am just about to start a placement at a primary school in East London, working predominantly with SEN children in nursery and the early years.
I will be helping to facilitate groups for children with autism and am really looking forward to putting my child psychology knowledge to the test!
How will these experiences help you with your future career?
I think that I would like to work with children in the future, so getting work experience through placements in a variety of schools is crucial. In addition, undertaking a placement in a private practice as well as the NHS should help me to stand out when it comes to applying for graduate jobs.
Have you overcome any challenges during your studies?
I initially found it challenging to adapt to being a student again, after being away from full-time education for some time. However, getting involved in opportunities on campus helped me to feel more connected to the University.
I would also say that connecting with other mature students made me realise that we’re all in the same boat!
What kind of things are you involved in outside of your course?
I am a member of City’s Speech and Language Therapy Society and I’m also a Student Ambassador. I work with City’s Widening Participation scheme to help encourage students from all backgrounds to apply to university.
I am also part of my course’s mentoring scheme, and I look forward to mentoring a first-year next year.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After I graduate, I hope to qualify and practice as a registered Speech and Language Therapist. So far, I think I would like to work with children, and I am particularly interested in autism and dysfluency (stammering and associated issues).
What would be your advice to anyone considering studying this course?
Work experience or volunteering is essential, so ensure that you understand the different client groups that Speech and Language Therapists work with and consider doing online or phone volunteering if the ongoing pandemic makes shadowing a therapist impractical.
This is a fantastic but intense course, so prepare yourself for a full-on two years!
You’ll be amazed at how much you learn and how quickly you cover areas of biomedicine, neurology, and psychology that you’ve probably never come across before.