The Med Shed

Speech and Language Therapist

THE WORKING DAY

You’ve just qualified as a therapist helping people with speech and language difficulties.

You visit a 21-year-old man with a severe head injury. When he woke from a coma, he couldn’t talk and had difficulty eating, drinking and swallowing. You visit his home in Victoria Dock, helping him to increase his vocabulary, starting with the words that mean the most to him. After working with him for seven months, he can now hold a conversation with his friends.

You meet up with a speech and language therapy friend in a mental health team working with young offenders. She’s helping an 18-year-old with poor communication, memory and social skills. He often misunderstands people, leading to aggressive behaviour. Group therapy helps focus his language and social skills and address his behaviour.

After lunch, you see a teenage girl struggling at Archbishop Sentamu Academy. She finds it hard to understand her teachers and answer questions in tests. You have been helping her find ways and techniques to support her learning. You have also been working with her teachers so they can better support her education.

At the end of the day, you write a report for a client with cerebral palsy and manage new referrals to your team.

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE ME?

You’re interested in medicine, enjoy biology, psychology and language and have a keen interest in how the human body and mind work.

You want to apply this in a practical and meaningful way working with a variety of people. You have good communication skills, enjoy working as part of a team and want to make a difference to the lives of others.

You’re also patient, caring and kind.

WHAT'S NEXT?

You’ll need five GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C) — or the equivalent — and be considering taking three A-Levels (or the equivalent) at 6th form or college.

You’ll need to take an approved three or four-year degree in speech and language therapy at university. You’ll usually need three A-Levels (or equivalent level 3 qualification). Different courses favour different A-Level subjects, for example English language and biology, so bear this in mind when considering a future university.

Alternatively, you could take a relevant first degree (e.g. psychology) and then take an approved two-year masters degree in speech and language therapy.

Speech and language therapists can work with both adults and children, and you will get “hands on” experience while you are at university during placements.