An Introduction to a Speech and Language Therapist.

1. What is a Speech and Language Therapist?

A speech and language therapist is a health professional who is qualified and experienced in assessing and supporting children and adults with speech language communication and eating and swallowing difficulties. This could be anything from a child with a stammer, autism, unclear speech, to an adult with a head injury, voice disorder or after a stroke.

2. How long have you been a Speech and Language Therapist, and why did you become one?

I have been a speech and language therapist for nearly 20 years. I originally became one as I was torn between following a career that was medical and career that was in eduction and this covered both aspects. I work with children (mainly oder 5) with complex needs and feeding and swallowing problems.

3. What is the best thing about being a Speech and Language

We have a unique skill set and this can make a real difference to people’s lives. I love those moments when people just click and ‘get it’ I love training others to support children with speech language and communication needs and I love giving a voice to those that otherwise
wouldn’t have one.

4. How do you work with parents and children?

We work in clinics, homes, nurseries and schools. A small part of what we do is working directly with children to change what or how they do something, the rest of the time is changing those around them so they have the skills to support that children all of the time. Little changes make a huge difference.

5. What does a day in the life of a Speech and Language Therapist look like?

Working in the NHS there is the obvious pressures of long waiting lists and we battle constantly between doing a good job with each individual and getting to see all the children. We are a particularly innovative and problem solving bunch of professionals and work tirelessly to come up with ways that balance this problem. We may spend a morning assessing children in clinic, the afternoon, in a nursery supporting children to make progress and the evening running training sessions for teaching staff to empower them to support children in their setting. There is also the paperwork side, we keep notes on every meeting, consultation and conversation in the child’s
notes, we write programmes and reposts, input to multi professional meetings and put our appointments onto a computer screen.

We also spend time on the phone to parents and other professionals such a paediatricians, education psychologists and dietitians. We each have specialist roles within the team and so have caseloads that reflect those skills.
Everyday is busy, we often don’t have much time to chat, or have a lunch break, but we are all passionate about what we do, support each other and try our best for the families we serve.

Many many thanks to Joanne Jones for her time and support with our series. If you want anymore information or need Joannes expertise feel free to contact her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theearlyyearsdevelopmentcoach/ or visit her website https://www.joannejones.co.uk/