Nearly 5% of the UK population currently suffers from some form of communication or language difficulty; it is the role of speech and language therapists to help these people deal with communicative problems.
Such problems affect both child and adult patients who suffer from a range of difficulties which are caused by a wide spectrum of conditions.
Those working in speech & language therapy jobs spend their time helping their patients to either regain or develop skills they need to communicate to the highest level possible.
What the job involves
Therapists are required to work with patients suffering from a wide range of speech and language difficulties including –
- Inability to communicate thoughts;
- Improper comprehension of language;
- Incoherent communication;
- Other oral problems such as eating or volume control .
These difficulties are implications of physical and mental disabilities which are caused by illnesses such as:
- Physical defects;
- Sustained injuries;
- Psychiatric disorders and learning difficulties.
Speech and language therapy is normally carried out on a one-to-one basis with the patient; however therapists will be required to work in conjunction with fellow professionals, such as those in rehabilitation and physiotherapist jobs. This enables the team to coordinate the best response to each individuals needs.
The job is also commonly practiced in a number of environments such as hospitals, GP practices and patients homes; meaning therapists are often required to travel a great deal.
Upon qualification as a speech and language therapist, successful candidates will be given a broad spectrum of patients to gain experience in the field. After this it is common for therapists to specialise in a chosen field such as:
- Child speech therapy and language acquisition;
- Research in to new therapy techniques;
- Management of speech and language therapy programs.