As a Speech therapist, you’ll treat patients of all age group who have various levels of speech, language and communication problems, or difficulties in swallowing, drinking or eating.
You could deal with a diverse client group, including people with physical and learning disabilities, hearing loss/deafness, psychiatric disorders or dementia, and could treat a range of conditions, including cleft palate, stammering, language delay and voice disorders.
You’ll usually work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside other health professionals, and will often liaise with family or teachers when developing treatment plans.
Your tasks will vary depending on your client and the nature of the problem. However, you’ll typically need to:
- identify the speech and communication difficulty or disorder;
- assess the cause and nature of the problem, for example, congenital problems (such as cleft palate) or acquired disorders after a stroke or injury;
- devise and deliver a suitable treatment programme, working on a one-to-one basis or in groups, to enable each of your clients to improve as much as possible;
- review and revise the programme as appropriate;
- advise carers on implementing a treatment programme and train other professionals in therapy delivery;
- monitor and evaluate your clients’ progress;
- write confidential client case notes and reports, as well as information for clients, carers and other professionals;
- manage a caseload while taking into account priority cases, waiting lists, successful outcomes, referral and discharge of service users;
- work within a team to improve the effectiveness of service delivery.
At a more senior level, you’ll need to:
- conduct personal development reviews with colleagues;
- support Speech therapy assistants;
- plan and deliver training sessions;
- undertake clinical audit;
- participate in research projects.