The term Speech therapy is an abbreviation for the longer term Speech and Language Therapy as practiced by a Speech and Language Therapist. A speech and Language therapist working with Young People would need to understand;
Play and imagination skills
Listening and concentration skills
Expression of language concepts - correct use of concepts such as big, little on, under
Language structures - can they follow words in sentences
Expression in sentences - are the sentences well formed?
Social communication and understanding of social rules; can the person contribute to conversations, understanding humor etc.
Behavior; people may appear agitated and frustrated as a result of not being able to communicate themselves effectively
Use of language - ability to comment, request and greet etc.
Speech therapists will often specialize as either a Pediatric or adult therapist, although some therapists may also work with adults with learning disabilities as well.
Therapists can decide to specialize even further, for example working predominantly with clients on the autistic spectrum, with clients dysfunctions, with clients who have eating and drinking needs, with pre-school clients, with secondary school aged clients and some therapists may develop into managing therapists working as team leaders, or within the management structures.
Training to provide Speech Therapy?
A speech and language therapist carries out a degree course in Speech and Language therapy at one of only 10 Universities offering the course throughout the U. K.
Most courses run over four years and two or three Universities offer a post grad entrance following a previous degree.
Candidates require A levels to enter onto the course, although some equivalent qualifications may be accepted.
The course itself Is very intensive, running across five days a week, plus placement. Throughout the course training speech therapists should gain lots of practical experience of Pediatrics and adults through their weekly or block placements.
When qualifying a newly qualified practitioner must meet the Royal College Speech and Language therapists Competencies with the first year or two of practicing.
What other disciplines work alongside Speech and language Therapists?
Often Speech and Language Therapists will work alongside Educational Psychologists if the child or young person attends school or a nursery. The therapist may work alongside Occupational therapists, Physio therapists, Music therapists and play therapists.
It can be really beneficial for therapists to make joint visits in order to fully assess the child's needs in relation to their physical development, cognitive development and emotional development.
Where you will come across Speech Therapy?
Speech therapists can work for the National Health Services or Independently as part of the therapists own practice, or where they are employed directly by a school/care setting.
Chris Tyrrell writes for Integrated Treatment Services who specializes in the delivery of speech therapy . Visit the website to learn more.