What do speech and language therapists do?
Speech and language therapists (SLTs) provide life-improving treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, eating, drinking or swallowing.
SLTs assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to help them communicate better. They also assess, treat and develop personalised plans to support people who have eating and swallowing problems.
Using specialist skills, SLTs work directly with clients and their carers and provide them with tailored support. They also work closely with teachers and other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, other allied health professionals and psychologists to develop individual treatment programmes.
Who benefits from speech and language therapy?
Speech and language therapy benefits people of all ages, for example:
Infants: SLTs support premature babies and infants with conditions such as cerebral palsy, cleft palate and Down syndrome from very early in life who have difficulties with drinking, swallowing and early play and communication skills.
Children: SLTs support children with primary speech, language and
communication difficulties, such as stammering, as well as speech, language and communication difficulties that are secondary to other conditions such as learning difficulties and hearing problems.
Adults with learning difficulties: SLTs support adults who have developmental
conditions such as learning disabilities, autism and Down syndrome.
Adults: SLTs support adults with communication and/or swallowing difficulties as a result of medical conditions, such as stroke, head and neck cancer, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Did you know?
- Nearly 20% of the population may experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives.
- 7% of children aged about five years have specific speech and language impairment ii and a further 1.8% have speech, language and communication needs linked to other conditions such as learning disability, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders.
- Speech, language and communication needs are the most common type of special educational need in 4-11 year old children.
- In some socially deprived areas upwards of half of children may start school with impoverished speech, language and communication skills.
- Around a third of people will have some level of communication difficulties (called aphasia) following a stroke.
- More than 60% of young offenders can have difficulties with speech, language or communication.