Speech and language therapists (SLTs) provide life-changing treatment and support for adults and children who have difficulties with communicating or eating, drinking and swallowing.
SLTs are responsible for supporting clients through treatment and working with colleagues within the healthcare sector to design an appropriate therapy programme for each individual.
SLTs also work with their clients support networks, such as parents, partners and careers to show them how to support therapy in places such as the home or in schools.
Skills of a speech and language therapist
As a speech and language therapist you will require a wide skill-set; communication and listening skills are vital when working with people who struggle themselves to communicate or are frustrated by their situation.
SLTs must also be able to create positive working relationships with their clients to engage them in treatment and encourage them to continue when they are struggling.
When working with children, SLTs must be creative, turning therapy into games and igniting the child’s imagination. It is vital that as a SLT you have patience and compassion, your clients will be struggling to communicate and be understood and it is your job to help them get there… however long it takes.
Speech and language therapy is an incredibly rewarding profession; the therapy SLTs deliver makes a daily difference to people’s lives and enables clients to communicate again or first the first time and helps them regain or find their independence.
Speech and language therapy provides a lifelong and varied career path, with opportunities for career progression within the public and private healthcare sectors or as a self-employed SLT. SLTs can develop their skills by continuing with postgraduate education or entering into research roles.
City’s BSc in Speech and Language Therapy is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, meaning successful graduates from the course can apply for registration as an SLT and begin practicing once they graduate.
The role of the speech and language therapist
A speech and language therapist's tasks will vary depending on the client, the organisation and the nature of a patient's problem. However, the therapist would often need to:
- Identify the speech and communication difficulty or disorder
- Assess the cause and nature of the problem, for example, congenital problems (such as cleft palate) or acquired disorders after a stroke or injury
- Devise and deliver a suitable treatment programme, working on a one-to-one basis or in groups, to enable each of your clients to improve as much as possible
- Review and revise the programme as appropriate
- Advise carers on implementing a treatment programme and train other professionals in therapy delivery
- Monitor and evaluate your clients' progress
- Write confidential client case notes and reports, as well as information for clients, carers and other professionals
- Manage a caseload while taking into account priority cases, waiting lists, successful outcomes, referral and discharge of service users
- Work within a team to improve the effectiveness of service delivery.
The expected starting salary for qualified speech and language therapists working within the NHS in central London is between £26,067 and £28,314.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a speech and language therapist, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.