What is speech and language therapy?

What is speech and language therapy bubble

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

Take a look at some 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.

 

Giving Voice factsheets

Giving VoiceOur Giving Voice campaign is designed to ‘give voice’ to people with speech, language and communication needs. We aim to demonstrate how speech and language therapy makes a difference to individuals and the broader society across the UK. Giving Voice provides a platform and resources to support national and local influencing. Visit the Giving Voice website to find out more.

Download Giving Voice factsheets with case studies and peoples' stories showing how Speech and Language Therapy changes lives:

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

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.

Giving Voice fact sheet Supporting people with dementia

 

Videos about SLT

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.

 

Bradford care trust videos

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

Adults with a Learning Disability

Autism

Children Centres

Cleft Palate & Resonance Disorders

Complex Needs in Special Schools

Hearing Impairment

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

 

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List of SLTs work areas

Speech and language therapists work in:

  • 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

Careers guide

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