Speech and language therapists diagnose, advise about and treat speech and language problems to help people communicate effectively.
As a speech and language therapist (SLT), you’ll treat babies, children and adults who have various levels of speech, language and communication problems, or difficulties in swallowing, drinking or eating.
- 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.
To practise as a speech and language therapist (SLT) you must have an approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy.
- excellent communication and listening skills – to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds and to motivate clients and gain trust. Clients may be uncooperative because they’re frightened, frustrated or disorientated by their situation;
- patience – progress may be slow, involving repetitive exercises to aid clients who have problems memorizing, processing and retaining information;
- creativity and problem-solving skills – to design programmes appropriate to different learning styles and communication issues;
- the ability to work in a team – for interacting with other professionals;
- organizational skills and flexibility – to deal with a range of clients in varied settings;
- the ability to be at ease in a clinical environment;
- qualities such as empathy, assertiveness, tact, a sense of humour and physical and mental stamina.