What is speech and language therapy?
Speech and language therapy
is the process of helping people to communicate to the
best of their ability. Speech and
language therapists are professionals who have undergone
training to enable them to understand the range of human
communication difficulties. They are the only professionals
who are qualified to assess, diagnose and treat human
communication difficulties. Speech and language therapists
in the UK are
guided by the code of ethics, standards of practice and
other guidelines set down by the Royal College of Speech
and language therapists (R.C.S.L.T.). All clients, regardless
whether they are adults or children, are considered as
individuals and their speech and language therapy management
What do therapists do?
A therapist starts by completing
an assessment of the child’s
communication skills. This should include an interview
with the child’s parent or main caregiver, in order
to obtain a history of the child’s development, including
their communication development. The therapist also needs
why parents have requested an assessment. Sometimes another
professional has suggested an assessment, but parents are
not sure why. These matters need to be discussed so that
everybody is clear on why a referral has been recommended,
and to ensure
that any intervention the child receives is effective.
working with children will take into account other aspects
of the child’s development, such as their
play, social skills, concentration and physical development.
These factors are important in understanding the child’s
communication, and vice versa.
The therapist will observe
the child in a variety of settings and / or activities
and will present some tasks to the
child, in order to get a picture of their strengths and
weaknesses on a range of skills. If the child needs help
skills, sessions may be offered individually or in groups,
in the child’s home or elsewhere. For most children,
it is essential to work closely with parents / main caregivers.
The therapist may also work closely with staff in schools
or nurseries advising on communication targets to be met
in those settings.
Where do therapists work?
Therapists work in both NHS and
private settings. These can include hospitals, child
development centres, schools,
clinics, family homes, health centres and nurseries