While studying health and social care at college I had the opportunity for a two-week placement at a local hospital, shadowing a range of allied health professionals including speech and language therapists (SLTs). I observed therapy for a lady with aphasia (difficulty with language or speech) following a stroke. I fell in love with it straight away and knew that it was the career for me!
I love helping others. My mum’s a nurse and my sister’s a trainee midwife so I think ‘caring’ is in my DNA. I loved my time shadowing SLTs while on placement. I had always found communication interesting and so rewarding to see the motivation from patients. Following my hospital experience, I went on another placement to a primary school where I worked alongside teachers, gaining experience and knowledge of education and mainstream schools, which I really liked.
Currently, I work as part of a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) team at Provide – a community interest company (CIC) in Essex. I provide intervention to children in mainstream primary and secondary schools with an Educational Health Care Plan (ECHP). My role is varied and I’ve children of all ages and abilities on my caseload. I’ve a specific interest in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Dysarthria (difficulty speaking due to brain damage or brain changes later in life). I enjoy working in mainstream schools alongside teachers, teaching assistants, social workers, and educational psychologists.
I’d say that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Therapy sessions, note writing, reports, liaison with parents, meetings with special educational needs coordinators can all be part of my day, however I do what I can and always make sure I’ve time for lunch!
If you’re considering a career in speech and language therapy, go for it! Get as much experience as possible working with children and/or adults in a variety of settings if you can. There are so many opportunities in speech and language therapy from working with children and adults, hospitals, schools, prisons, care homes!