Speech and language therapists help children and adults who have speech, language and communication problems or difficulties to do with eating, drinking or swallowing. This can be the result of a variety of issues, such as a birth defect, hearing problem, illness, accident or injury, or because of a learning or physical disability. The therapist meets the patient, assesses their needs and devises a programme of exercise and treatment.
They also meet with the patient’s family, teachers and other health professionals to talk about the kind of support that is needed. Patients are seen on a regular basis to check progress, review the programme and make changes to it, as necessary. Therapists work in a range of locations; such as hospitals, community health centres, schools, day centres and sometimes prisons. People who do this work are patient and have good listening and problem-solving skills.
What it takes
What it takes:
- the ability to work well with others
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be flexible and open to change
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- knowledge of psychology
- customer service skills
- active listening skills
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- concentration skills
- a good memory
- For some roles you'll need to visit clients in their homes, so you'll need a driving licence.
Day to day
Day to day:
As part of your day-to-day tasks, you could:
- talk to clients, observe them and use tests to assess specific difficulties
- plan and develop therapy programmes
- support clients through treatment
- work closely with colleagues like doctors and teachers
- coach parents and carers to continue their therapy at home
- keep detailed progress records
- work with groups or individuals to improve the way they communicate
You could work at a school, in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre, in a nursery or at a client's home.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.