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Could you help others find their true voice?

Byline: KATIE MCLOUGHLIN

What does a career as a speech and language therapist involve? Speech and language therapists assess and support people with communication problems and those with issues surrounding eating, drinking and swallowing.

Clients could include children and adults with stammering (dysfluency) or voice problems; difficulties making themselves understood through speech or problems understanding language.

Working with clients in one-to-one or group sessions, you would work with clients to maximise their ability to communicate.

Duties usually involve observing and assessing clients' specific difficulties; planning and developing individual therapy programmes; supporting clients through treatment and working closely with colleagues (like doctors and teachers) to get the best results..

You could be based in a hospital or community setting, working in mainstream and special schools or adult rehabilitation units.working for services ranging from mainstream and special schools to child development centres or adult rehabilitation units What are the opportunities for career progression? As a newly qualified therapist, you would usually begin your career in the

NHS managing a varied client caseload.

Once you have at least one year's experience, you could go on to specialise and work with a particular client group or focus on a specific clinical area.

A range of post-registration courses are available that can help improve your skills and develop your career., such as postgraduate certificate, diploma and Masters qualifications in language and communication impairment in children; communication and severe learning disability; cleft and lip palate studies; or human communication and working with deaf people.

What personal skills do you need? You'll need a keen interest and ability in science; excellent communication, listening and observation skills; sensitivity; an understanding manner; time management and team work skills.

Working with people of all ages, you'll need to motivate and encourage clients to continue treatment.

When working with children, you'll need to be creative to turn therapy into a game, and teach parents how to work on speech exercises with children.

What training or qualifications do you need? You'll need a degree in speech and language therapy or human communication (approved by the Health Professions Council) before you can start work as a speech and language therapist.

To get onto a degree course, you'll usually need five GCSEs (A-C) plus three A-Levels. Alternative qualifications may be accepted by some universities.

When applying for a course you'll need to show an understanding of speech and language therapy.

Full-time courses take between three and four years to complete. Most places are funded by the NHS.

If you're a graduate with a degree in another area, like a science or language-based subject, you may be able to qualify by completing a two-year accelerated postgraduate course in speech and language therapy.

What's the salary? (Guideline only) Speech and language therapists earn between pounds 20,300-pounds 26,200, experienced therapists around pounds 32,600 and senior therapists/team leaders about pounds 38,300..

More information . Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, www. rcslt. org . Health Learning and Skills Advice Line, www. careersadvice. direct. gov. uk/ campaigns/ nhs . NHS Careers, www.nhscareers.nhs.uk Details provided for information only. Jobs not necessarily available..
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 16, 2009
Words:519
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