What is a Speech and Language Therapist?
Healthcare professionals in SLT jobs will use their specialist skills alongside carers, teachers and other health professionals to help clients communicate and/or feed themselves more successfully. They will work with children and adults who:
- Experience difficulties in making themselves understood through speech
- Have trouble using and understanding language
- Live with a stammer
- Have difficulty with feeding, chewing or swallowing
These problems may be the result of a range of diseases and disabilities, from head injuries to Parkinson’s disease, a stroke or cancer.
Speech and language therapist jobs entail observing clients and assessing their capabilities using specialised tests, then planning therapy programmes appropriate to their needs. SLTs also provide support and motivation for the client and give advice and assistance to parents and carers to help them continue the therapy at home. The role can be in a hospital’s therapy department, running a clinic or visiting patients on wards. However, the job might also see the SLT visiting patients at home – this is why some SLT posts require you to have a driving licence.
To practice as an SLT, you must have a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)-approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy, covering both theory and clinical practice (which takes place in hospitals, schools and day centres, supervised by qualified therapists).