I started with SaLT jobs about 12 months ago working with a small independent practice. My clinical time was spent around the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of speech, voice, and language disorders and children, unable to make speech sounds or cannot make them clearly. They also had a stammering clinic appended to the clinic and I worked with people who stammer, have fluency and rhythm problems, inappropriate pitch, or harsh voice and speech quality problems. Most of my time was spent setting up a program of speech exercises to reduce the disability, and if necessary, enlists the aid of a psychologist or psychiatrist to support.
An important part of my day as a speech therapist is providing support to individuals and families helping them to cope with the stress associated with these problems. Therapists also work with families on treatment techniques to use at home and on how to modify behavior that impedes communication. The speech therapists job is physically demanding and require patience and compassion, as progress may be slow and halting. Tremendous attention to detail and sharp focus are necessary in the evaluation of the clients progress. Overall, speech therapists must be able to understand and empathize with the emotional strains and stresses that such problems bring, both from the patient’s and family member’s point of view.Independent Speech therapists, like other health care professionals, must carefully diagnose problems and if necessary call upon the advice of other health specialists. The ability to distinguish the need for the professional input of specialists is critical to the therapist’s success. Therapists must also monitor the progress of clients, eliminate certain programs, and introduce others that are more effective. The ability to make informed decisions that may define the success and failure of any individual program is a skill that can only come with years of experience and stands you in good stead for autonomous working.
As with most areas of the health care profession, speech therapists are expected to be in constant demand. Speech therapists will be needed to service a rapidly ageing population with significant growth in the seventy-five years and over sector of the population. Hearing loss and its associated speech disorders are expected to be one of the major health concerns of an older population. The proliferation of health care agencies, nursing homes, residential retirement communities and adult daycare centers will assure employment opportunities for speech therapists and other health specialists. With legislation guaranteeing the expansion of special education and related services in schools, more and younger students with disabilities will require the specialized training of speech therapists. Therapists will be encouraged to design and implement innovative programs that will involve students and parents alike.
So now could be time to make a change !