What is speech and language therapy?
  • Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a range of communication impairments including difficulties with fluency, voice, speech, understanding and use of language, social communication and pragmatics. 

  • The goal of SLT is to enable and support the individual to communicate to the best of their ability.

  • Some SLTs also assess and provide guidance for those individuals experiencing difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing (dysphagia) to ensure safety and quality of life.

  • SLTs train to work with both children and adults and then they tend to specialise within a particular area, for example children with complex needs, or adults with neurological communication disorders. 

 

How do you access speech and language therapy?

  • Speech and language therapy is available from the NHS for free for children and adults. The criteria to access it, along with the amount of therapy and approach used can depend on the service. For children, the referral can be made by the parent, GP, another health professional, the child´s nursery or school SENCO.  

  • Some people choose to go to an independent SLT instead of, or in addition to, accessing NHS SLT.  This may be to avoid the waiting lists, to benefit from more sessions, to choose a therapist with a particular specialism, and to have more flexibility with appointments. You can find local independent SLTs by visiting the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP). These SLTs are registered with the RCSLT and the HCPC. You can then browse their specialisms and experience to find one that suits you.