16th Nov 2012
How to be a... Speech and Language Therapist
There are many roads into speech and language therapy. Some choose to study an under-graduate course, straight after their A Levels, others study post-graduate and some return as mature students.
South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust Speech and Language Therapist, Leigh McGowan initially attained a degree in psychology and began working in the Housing Executive, eventually going on to become a housing officer.
It was through a personal experience that highlighted the impact speech and language therapy can have on someone’s life that she realised she really wanted to be a speech and language therapist and so she studied at Ulster University whilst continuing to work part time for the Housing Executive.
Leigh now works on a multidisciplinary team providing speech and language support for P1-P4 children in mainstream education.
Commenting on her own career Leigh said, “I work alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists, behaviour therapists, social workers and psychologists to ensure that children with specific needs are getting the best education possible.
“We make specialist assessments and provide therapy to groups, individuals and whole classes where appropriate. We also train teachers to manage challenges in their classroom and provide support and advice to parents whose children need additional speech, language and communication support.
“I get to travel from school to school working with children from various backgrounds; it is really rewarding helping children get the best start in life.
Speech and language therapy really does transform lives.”
Leigh continued “Whilst I predominantly work with 4 to 8 year olds in mainstream education, speech and language therapists can be found in special educational needs school, care of the elderly, hospital wards or making visitations to patient’s homes”.
Speech and Language Therapists, or SALTs, can work with adults, children and infants in any number of specialisms including; language delay, hearing impairment, cleft palate, stammering, voice disorders, stroke, head injury and dementia.
For more information on how to become a speech and language therapist visit: http://www.rcslt.org/speech_and_language_therapy/careers/career