A day as a speech and language therapist

You've just qualified as a therapist, and help patients with a wide variety of speech and language difficulties.

Your day begins with a 21 year old man who had a severe head injury. When he woke up from a coma he couldn't talk and had difficulty eating, drinking and swallowing. You see him at home and have been 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 then 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. This leads to him misunderstanding people, leading to aggressive behaviour. Group therapy helps focus his language and social skills and address his behaviour.

After lunch, you see a 12 year old girl who has been struggling at school. She finds it hard to understand her teachers and to 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.

Real-life stories

Sophie Edgington

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Does this sound like you?

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 meanigful 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 after GCSE?

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.

What's next after A level and beyond?

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.