As a 19 year old, I packed my totally inappropriate clothing for the weather and studied in one of the rainiest places in England: Manchester. Okay, truth be told I only did it so that I could visit a new European country every month and by golly did I meet that goal! From an SLP perspective I marveled at the different regional accents and the phonetic part of my brain got a real workout. I learned speechie things that I didn’t hear about again, perfected the nasal twang of the Mancunian accent and increased my vocabulary. You know, with local words. Okay, curses. I learned how to curse in a Manc accent.
So a lot has changed since I was last there in 2005 and I thought who better than the SLT Scrapbook to refresh my memory about speech pathology in the UK and understand what it’s like should you decide to venture there one day to either study or work.
What is the profession called where you live? Speech and Language Therapy. We are known as Speech and Language Therapists, and either SLTs or SALT for short.
How long is the average degree for Speech Pathology? Most degrees are 3 years, although some courses are 4 years. There’s also a 2 years Masters option available for students who have done a different (but usually related) undergraduate degree previously.
How do you get certified to be a Speech Pathologist? Once you’ve completed the degree you need to complete a set of competencies related to your chosen field; you have to have evidence which backs up why/how you’ve met each area and this is then submitted to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for certification.
What acronyms do you use after being certified? CertMRCSLT
What do your clients or students call you? We usually go by first names, although in school settings we would typically be Mr/Mrs/Miss [name].
What local games or resources would you typically find? Depending on where you work, resources may be made “in-house” by therapists or assistants, generally using either Boardmaker or a programme called Communicate in Print, by Widget. But Black Sheep Press and Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme resources are really popular too. The most popular games are Pop up Pirate, any Orchard Toys game (particularly the Shopping List game), the “Monkey Tree” game (this; it’s known by several names- “Monkey Business”, “Monkeying Around”, “Tumbling Monkeys” etc) and fishing games. You’re also sure to find some tea sets, dolls, blocks etc. in most therapy rooms too!
In what setting do the majority of SLPs work? Most work either in the NHS (National Health Service) with adults or children, or in education settings. Many also work privately for either companies or individually.
Where are some really interesting locations to work in your country? Some more rural areas are interesting for the variation in travel- you can get stuck behind tractors quite regularly and you often have to stop for livestock crossing the road!
Who are some local SLP’s that are doing great research? There’s currently a research project going on by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and communication charities which is looking at the impact of the Bercow review into Speech, Language and Communication needs 10 years on. It will be interesting to see what the current landscape is for children with SLCN and the recommendations that come out of that as a result.
What are the common articulation and language assessments used? It can really vary depending on time and need, this may be a sweeping generalisation but generally I’d say most people would use a STAP or a CLEAR for a quick articulation assessment, or perhaps the DEAP for something with more formal scores. Language assessments are most likely to be the CELF-5 or an ACE for a thorough assessment, or perhaps a RAPT or STASS for more of a screen.
Are there any big issues that are impacting or changing the scope of the SLP? The main thing affecting SLT input currently is the funding of university courses and of therapy services, particularly the funding of the NHS (National Health Service). Due to budget pressures and government policies, recruitment to posts can be challenging, due to lack of funding for positions. This causes lengthy waiting lists and reduction in the type of services offered in some areas. But there are initiatives and things underway, such as Bercow: 10 years on, which are trying to highlight the importance of appropriate funding.
It’s always good to get a bit of background before you decide to work somewhere else. If you have any more non-Visa questions (because let’s be real, we’re SLPs, not immigration specialists), ask below and I’ll get them answered 🙂 I’m also loving the Facebook group SLPs Going Abroad for to find SLPs in the trenches!