Speech Therapist As An Alternative Career

Posted on March 28, 2011 in Alternative Careers


By Amritapa Basu:

Choosing an out-of-the-box career is what is gripping the fantasy of youngsters today. Identifying one’s aptitude at a correct stage, a little guidance and a little effort is what it takes to have a soaring career. Here’s another career option which is service-oriented and also is in huge demand.

For most of us who do not have speech troubles, the role of a speech therapist is incomprehensible. Little do we realise that problems as simple as stammering, stuttering and lisping might need the help of a therapist. Speech and language therapy is the treatment of people with speech or language disorders. Speech disorder would entail difficulty in producing sounds whereas language disorder refers to difficulty in understanding or putting words together to convey ideas. Patients whose communication abilities have been affected by trauma, congenital diseases, injury or hearing loss also have to turn to a speech therapist.

Speech therapists work with doctors, teachers, social workers and psychologists. Many conscious parents turn to them for curing speech disorders of their children from a very young age and help in getting admissions in schools. They also help people who wish to modify accents and have swallowing problems.

A Speech therapist’s work usually includes:

  • Teaching individuals with little or no speech ability to make sounds, improve and later to increase language skills.
  • Diagnosing the nature and extent of impairment and to record and analyse speech, language and swallowing irregularities.
  • Choosing alternative communication methods like automated devices and sign language for individuals with very little or no speech ability.
  • Help patients who have suffered loss of speech to recover communication abilities.

Also, individual shortcomings being different from one another, speech therapists have to devote individual care for each patient.

The demand for professional speech therapists is increasing but due to lack of trained manpower and lack of incentives, professionals are moving out of the country. In India, very few institutes offer this course —

  • The Al Yavar Jung National Institute for the hearing Handicapped, Bandra, Mumbai
  • The All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi
  • Institute of Speech and Hearing, Hannur Road, Bangalore
  • J.M. Institute of Speech and Hearing, Keshrinagar, Patna

A student must take a basic course B.Sc (Speech and Hearing) or B.Sc (Audiology and speech and language), and then a M.sc (Speech pathology and audiology) to pursue a career in Speech therapy.

Speech therapists are highly respected individuals as they provide an essential skill which could make a difference in someone’s life by making it more productive and fulfilling.

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