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My job as a: Speech and Language Therapist

  • 11-01-2011 11:30pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 29,105 ✭✭✭✭ LizT


    Occupation: Speech and Language Therapist/ Pathologist (US terminology)

    Qualifications Held: Currently in final year - undergraduate BSc Hons

    Age: 20

    What we do: Speech and Language Therapist work with a vairety of clients, from children to adults, in all walks of life.
    Speech and language therapists involved with children may assess and treat children with the following disorders: Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Cleft, Lip and Palate, hearing impaired (including cochlear implants) as well as children with learning difficulties among other things. They may also work in a clinic, which means typically they would see children with delayed or disordered speech and language (including stuttering, articulation problems, voice disorders, structural abnormalites etc.)
    Speech and language therapists working with children can work in a variety of venues such as schools, clinics and hospitals.
    Speech and language therapists working with adults may assess and treat adults with acquired neurological disorders or learning disabilites. Acquired neurological disorders can include stroke, traumatic brain injury, parkinson's, huntington's, motor neurone disease, brain haemorrhages etc. The role of the SLT will vary according to the type of client they are working with but would generally assess and treat: receptive language problems and expressive language problems, problems with the motor speech mechanism, problems with swallowing or feeding, cognitive problems (such as attention, memory, planning, sequencing etc).
    Working with adults with learning disabilities is quite similiar to working with kids except at a higher level and thinking how the person will integrate into the community.

    Day to Day: The job of a speech therapist will really vary depending on the client group you are working with. It's typically a 9-5, Monday to Friday job. One thing that is truly great about it is that every day is different and in many settings you will really get to know and bond with the patients. If you want more information about what a typical day consists of within a certain client group, post here and I will get back to you!

    Other info: A lot of people believe that speech and language therapy is not an essential health service. Trust me, it is. We work with people with swallowing disorders (requires a postgraduate qualification) and for them it is a life or death situation ( if they cannot swallow correctly, it may lead to food or liquid entering the lungs and result in pneumonia).
    Many of our clients will be greatly frustrated by their communication deficits. For example, think of an adult who has had a stroke. They know what they want to say, but can't say it. A child with a stammer may be bullied by their classmates. An adolescent who can't understand the language used in school may stop making the effort and leave school. A teacher who loses their voice regularly and cannot teach because of it. These are the types of clients we work with. We enable people to communicate to the best of their ability.

    Where to study: There are 3 undergraduate courses in ROI - Trinity, NUIG and UCC.These courses are all four years long. I study in University of Ulster in Belfast, where the course is 3 years long. There are many other courses in the UK, most of which are 3 years long.

    There is a postgraduate course, which is two years, in UL.

    Misc: Links
    Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists
    http://www.iaslt.ie/

    Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist (RCSLT) (UK)
    http://www.rcslt.org/

    More information about UK application
    http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/Default.aspx?Id=288

    Hope this helps some of you, if you have any questions, please post here and I'll do my best to answer you ASAP.


Comments



  • What leaving cert subjects did you find useful for this course? Im going into 5th year next year and have to pick my subjects. Im currently thinking I might like to be a speech therapist or a dental hygienist.
    Do you do any biology on this course?
    Is there any other subjects you would recommend or would think would give you an advantage in this course?
    Thanks in advance!




  • ciara95 wrote: »
    What leaving cert subjects did you find useful for this course? Im going into 5th year next year and have to pick my subjects. Im currently thinking I might like to be a speech therapist or a dental hygienist.
    Do you do any biology on this course?
    Is there any other subjects you would recommend or would think would give you an advantage in this course?
    Thanks in advance!

    Biology is helpful but not necessary. Just be sure to check the requirements for the college you want to go to. Most of them require one science and biology is probably the most useful one.
    We do anatomy on the course, so it's not really that similar to biology. It's more in depth looking at the anatomy of the larynx, brain, throat, respiratory system etc.
    Other subjects - I don't really think there would be any that would give you an advantage. If you're thinking about applying to the UK then science and english would be the most relevant but if you're not then just pick the subjects you're good at and enjoy. This way you'll get more points because you'll be interested in what you're studying, rather than just doing something because you think it's relevant.

    Characteristics for a SLT-
    Patience, a lot of people will make really really slow progress in therapy, so you can't expect them to come in and be cured in a few sessions. With the adults especially the progress can be so so slow.
    As stupid as it sounds, you need to like people and interacting with them. When I was in school I wasn't the best at interacting with older people but it's something I do now easily. You need to be able to listen to what people are saying and realise that while you might think it is best to give them a certain form of therapy, it's really what will make the most meaningful change in their communication that counts.
    I'm probably not explaining this very well. If you have any specific questions please post them, I'll be more than happy to answer them!




  • Thanks liz! Im only in third year now but i think i want to do BESS(business, economics and social science) or Clinical speech and language therapy in Trinity. Im definitely interested in people and like the idea of helping them and having a helpful, positive influence in their life. I went to a speech therapist when I was little because I used to not say the ends of my words or something. But i remember the SLT was so nice and I used to love going to see her! Im going to see if I like Economics when I do it in september and if I would be interested in it. Or else if i would like to be an SLT. Thanks for all your help!




  • I'm in 6th year, and speech and language therapy is my first choice on the CAO.
    What is the actual college course like in terms of difficulty and hours etc.
    I'm well acquainted with the general responsibilities of a SLT at this stage, I've been doing lots of research in the last couple of years, and my brother still goes to a SLT! :)
    But I've never had the oppurtunity to find out what the course is like. What's your experience been like?




  • Hey sorry meehan, only seeing this post now.... well if you're still interested I can tell you more.

    The course hours are intensive. It isn't a course where you can just flit in and out of lectures. You really need to be in class to gain a better understanding of a lot of the content.
    When you're on placement, it will be 9-5 everyday, and then home to prepare for the next day. It's tough and it requires commitment. I can only really comment on the course in UU but all of the courses require the same commitment.


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  • It's still my number one anyway! Yeah I've heard it's quite an intensive course in all respects, but to be honest, I wouldn't mind that. I'm not the kind of person who would flit in and out of lectures regardless of what I end up doing, so commitment wouldn't be a problem.:) Where have you done placements? What kind of environment might you end up working in?




  • My placement have been in:
    A school for children with moderate learning disabilities.
    A residential home for adult with learning disabilities.
    An acute brain injury unit.
    A community clinic, dealing with children under 5 and all adults.

    I love the adult with learning disabilities work and would love to get a job in that field. As I'm sure you're aware the job prospects are very poor, especially in Ireland. Luckily I can begin to apply for jobs in the UK in the next few weeks but if you graduate from Ireland I think it takes six months to sort your registration with the health professionals council so that's just something to be aware of.

    Hopefully the situation will improve but with the moratorium on jobs in the HSE at the minute, it's not great!




  • lizt wrote: »
    My placement have been in:
    A school for children with moderate learning disabilities.
    A residential home for adult with learning disabilities.
    An acute brain injury unit.
    A community clinic, dealing with children under 5 and all adults.

    I love the adult with learning disabilities work and would love to get a job in that field. As I'm sure you're aware the job prospects are very poor, especially in Ireland. Luckily I can begin to apply for jobs in the UK in the next few weeks but if you graduate from Ireland I think it takes six months to sort your registration with the health professionals council so that's just something to be aware of.

    Hopefully the situation will improve but with the moratorium on jobs in the HSE at the minute, it's not great!


    I love how broad it is. It's not limiting in terms of who you work with, which I like. I like variety. I've heard alright that job prospects here are poor. 16 sp&lang therapists graduated from UCC last year, and none of them got jobs here. They all found employment in the UK though.:) I've another 5 years at least (depending on whether I go the direct or indirect route) before I have to worry about permanant employment.




  • Hey lizt this is really helpful, I just had a few other questions about the course there if you wouldn't mind helping me with! I was wondering are there many students from the south that do the course in belfast? Also, are you in class every day, and how many hours class time is there per week? Finally is there anything that I could learn/study that would help me before I start the course? Sorry for the random questions, thanks so much for your help! x




  • seachanges wrote: »
    Hey lizt this is really helpful, I just had a few other questions about the course there if you wouldn't mind helping me with! I was wondering are there many students from the south that do the course in belfast? Also, are you in class every day, and how many hours class time is there per week? Finally is there anything that I could learn/study that would help me before I start the course? Sorry for the random questions, thanks so much for your help! x

    There was two students in my class (including me) from the south. It's not really a big deal though, it's a well recognized course down here as well as having the added advantage of being a UK course (Which is really useful when applying for jobs in the UK). In first year I was in class everyday, pretty much 9 to 5. It's an intensive course. The hours reduce in 2nd and 3rd year but the workload increases. There's nothing you can really study before the course, it's very specialized! Biology will help for anatomy but apart from that everything will be very different from what you learn for leaving cert.

    Any other questions - feel free to fire them at me but I'm going away for 1 month so I might take a while to respond!


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  • Cheers, thanks for that! I just had one other question, are speech therapists expected to know all of the IPA chart symbols? Some of them don't sound like they are used in the english language at all, though perhaps they function more in disordered speech?




  • seachanges wrote: »
    Cheers, thanks for that! I just had one other question, are speech therapists expected to know all of the IPA chart symbols? Some of them don't sound like they are used in the english language at all, though perhaps they function more in disordered speech?

    Yup you're right they can be required for disordered speech, but it's actually not that hard to learn them once you look at them in terms of manner and place of articulation :-) lots of great videos and websites available to help you learn them too


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