Speech and Language Therapist

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    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.

     

    Duties

    • 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.

     

    Qualifications

    To practise as a speech and language therapist (SLT) you must have an approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy.

     

    Skills

    • 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.

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