What is speech and language therapy?

RCSLT undergraduate guide

Speech and language therapy provides life-changing treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are allied health professionals. They work closely with parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors. There are around 14,000 practising SLTs in the UK.

See list of clinical areas SLTs work in

Videos explaining more about speech and language therapy


Find out how to become an SLT

Our careers guide contains information about what speech and language therapists do, how to become an SLT and recognised speech and language therapy courses in the UK.

You can also find out about pay scales, becoming a support worker and obtaining work experience. 

Visit our Career in SLT web page.

Giving VoiceGiving Voice logo

Our Giving Voice campaign provides a platform and resources to demonstrate SLTs’ unique value to national and local decision makers. Visit the Giving Voice website to see campaign messages, find out about our campaign supporters, and more information about how you can get involved.

Giving Voice factsheets

You can download the following factsheets with case studies and peoples' stories showing how Speech and Language Therapy changes lives:


Speech and language therapy
Read the general factsheet on speech and language

What is speech and language therapy factsheet


Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms
A large proportion of children with special educational needs have speech, language and communication needs.

Read the factsheet regarding reforms to special educational needs and disability legislation in England and what this means for the provision of speech and language therapy.

SEND factsheet


Supporting people with dementia
Dementia can cause a range of difficulties in relation to communication, safe eating and drinking. Speech and language therapists support people with dementia and their carers by assessing their needs and delivering direct interventions to manage their problems.

To find out more visit Giving Voice for people with dementia.

Children and young people
Communication difficulties put children at greater risk of poor literacy, mental health issues and poorer employment outcomes in adulthood. Speech and language therapy is a vital service that improves children’s language and communication skills, and aids their personal development.

Giving Voice fact sheet Children and young people

Young offenders
Improving the communication skills of young offenders by providing speech and language therapy significantly reduces the risk of reoffending, increases access to rehabilitation and treatment programmes, and can improve an individual’s chances of gaining employment.

Giving Voice fact sheet Young offenders

Supporting stroke survivors
Speech and language therapy plays an important role in the rehabilitation and reablement of stroke survivors by assessing their needs and providing appropriate strategies to support their speech, language, communication and swallowing needs.

Giving Voice factsheet Supporting stroke surviviors


Videos about SLT


Bradford care trust videos

Speech and Language Therapists at Bradford Care Trust have made a series of videos, talking about their work and showing what speech and language therapists do.

Video autism Childrens centre
Adults with a
Learning Disability
Autism Children Centres
video Cleft palette Video special schools video Hearing impairment
Cleft Palate and
Resonance Disorders
Complex Needs in
Special Schools
Hearing Impairment

More videos from Bradford Care Trust

Head & Neck Cancers

Communication in the Hospital

Communication in Mental Health

Paediatric Eating & Swallowing

Specific Speech & Language Impairments

Stammer & Fluency Problems

Communication & Swallowing in the Community

Voice Disorders


Hello Baby film - Bullmeadow Speech and Language Therapy Centre

Hello baby - Film about communicating with babies

Why do we need the film? - Read about this video by those who created it using Big Lottery money and the help of local families.


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List of SLTs work areas

Speech and language therapists work in:Client and therapist

  • community health centres
  • hospital wards
  • outpatient departments
  • mainstream and special schools
  • children's centres
  • day centres
  • clients' homes
  • courtrooms
  • prisons
  • young offenders' institutions
  • independently/in private practice

Speech and language therapists work with:

Babies with

  • feeding and swallowing difficulties
Children with
  • mild, moderate or severe learning difficulties
  • physical disabilities
  • language delay
  • specific language impairment
  • specific difficulties in producing sounds
  • hearing impairment
  • cleft palate
  • stammering
  • autism/social interaction difficulties
  • dyslexia
  • voice disorders
  • selective mutism
Adults with
  • communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease and dementia
  • head, neck or throat cancer
  • voice problems
  • mental health issues
  • learning difficulties
  • physical disabilities
  • stammering
  • hearing impairment

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