A speech impediment usually manifests itself at the stage of childhood. Although it is not always severe, over time, lisping, stuttering or reeling may become a nuisance for a child, which will make it difficult for him to function in adulthood. Fortunately, most speech impediments can be effectively eliminated, and the treatment is carried out by a speech therapist. What exactly are his duties? Who can work with speech impaired patients and what are the requirements? How much does a speech therapist earn and what determines the amount of his salary? We checked it out!
- What does a speech therapist do?
- What does the therapy with a speech therapist look like?
- How to become a speech therapist?
- What requirements must a speech therapist meet?
- How Much Does a Speech Therapist Earn?
What does a speech therapist do?
A speech therapist is a qualified specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders. Although the treatment of speech impediments is his main task, the responsibilities of a speech therapist include carrying out exercises for children and adults, prevention of communication disorders, as well as other activities related to the selected specialization. There are several of them, and apart from general speech therapy and pediatric speech therapy, it is worth mentioning neurologopedics dealing with speech disorders caused by neurological factors and media speech therapy, which teaches the art of proper expressing. The latter is useful for all people who have to say a lot in their daily work, i.e. journalists, politicians and negotiators.
What does the therapy with a speech therapist look like?
Although many speech therapists conduct group classes, most patients choose individual therapy. At the beginning, the speech therapist diagnoses the defect, which includes a detailed interview with the patient. He or she may order additional tests, especially if he suspects the disorder is due to neurological factors. After diagnosing the problem, the speech therapist starts the proper part of the therapy. During it, the patient performs various types of exercises, but also learns more about the nature of his speech impediment and learns good habits. Ultimately, they are the key to successfully completing treatment. Therapy at a speech therapist lasts no less than six months, and in the case of more advanced disorders, it may take up to several years. As a rule, patients manage to complete treatment with at least partial success, which includes not only hard work, persistence and self-denial, but also the knowledge and experience of a speech therapist.
How to become a speech therapist?
Speech therapy is an interdisciplinary field of knowledge, based on a combination of pedagogy, medicine, physics and psychology. As a rule, these are postgraduate studies, but not always. It is worth noting that you do not need to have any formal education to work as a speech therapist, although in practice you need to complete specialist studies to find employment in the profession. They last two years, and during them you learn both the theory (structure of the speech apparatus, the physics of sound waves) and practice (obligatory internships under the supervision of an experienced speech therapist). After graduation, finding your first job should not be difficult – there are still few speech therapists on the market, especially those specializing in working with children. When recruiting, employers pay attention primarily to education, experience and selected specialization. An additional advantage is completed speech therapy courses, especially at renowned foreign universities. The number of people working in the profession is small, so it’s worth giving your best during the internship. A good opinion and positive references will definitely help in finding a job.
What requirements must a speech therapist meet?
Every speech therapist should have a natural predisposition to speak clearly and the ability to control pronunciation, which is necessary for exercises with patients. Among the features of a good speech therapist, it is worth mentioning patience (necessary when working with children) and empathy (making it easier to establish contact with the patient). Persistence is also important – the therapy sometimes lasts even several years, and during it you must not give up and you should constantly encourage the patient to work hard and perform exercises correctly.
How Much Does a Speech Therapist Earn?
The amount of salary is influenced by a number of factors – the most important of them are experience, selected specialization and place of work (large cities offer much higher wages). The dominant form of employment is an employment contract, and a small number of speech therapists decide to run a business and set up their own therapy room. This option gives you a chance for a much more attractive remuneration, but also involves a very high risk of running your own business. As speech therapy is a dynamically developing field of knowledge, a speech therapist should constantly learn and be up to date with the current scientific discourse. Adapting new therapeutic techniques can attract additional clients and translate into more effective work with patients.