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Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists provide life-changing treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.  They help people who, for physical or psychological reasons, have problems speaking and communicating. Patients range from children whose speech is slow to develop, to older people whose ability to speak has been impaired by illness or injury. It also includes treatment for those who have difficulty with eating or swallowing.

They see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as a speech and language therapist. Some examples of things they might work on include:

  • helping adults and children with learning difficulties communicate with others
  • helping people overcome their stammering
  • helping adults with speech difficulties as a result of head, neck or throat cancer

Variety is one of the most exciting things about being a speech and language therapist. As well as seeing different patients and conditions they also have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team in a range of settings from hospitals to community clinics to the homes of patients.

They also help children with:

  • mild, moderate or severe learning difficulties
  • physical disabilities
  • language delay
  • specific difficulties in producing sounds
  • hearing impairment
  • cleft lip and palate
  • stammering
  • autism/social interaction difficulties
  • dyslexia
  • voice disorders
  • selective mutism
  • mental health
  • developmental language disorder.

They help adults with:

  • communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease and dementia
  • voice problems
  • mental health issues
  • learning difficulties
  • physical disabilities
  • stammering
  • hearing impairment

They also work closely with teachers and other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses and psychologists. They may also supervise the work of speech and language therapy assistants.