Empower others by becoming a speech language therapist

In light of the recent news that there has been a dramatic increase in referrals to Speech and Language Therapy services, we chat to Lauren Salisbury, our lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy for her take on the situation. Lauren reflects on why this has arisen and how you can study and work towards a degree that can make a difference to people’s lives in response to an ever-growing need.

Speech Language Therapists support people of all ages and make an incredible difference to people’s lives.

Recently, there has been an increase in referrals to Speech Language Therapy services and therefore growing caseloads. The media reports that lockdown has been a contributing factor to the rapid increase in the need for speech language therapy support for children.

In the latest report in the media, the analysis showed that:

“The number of five and six year olds who need speech and language support at school has risen by 10% in England over the past year”. Experts say that the increase “is substantially greater than previous years” and “is partly due to lockdown limiting social interactions”.

Lockdown has put extra pressure on services but there is also the existing demand of an ageing population who are living longer. The older generation requires support from adult SLT services for diagnoses such as dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease.

But what do speech and language therapists do?

Speech Language Therapists provide essential services to individuals from 0 – 100+ years, who require support with any aspect of their communication and/or eating, drinking and swallowing needs. There is a national shortage of Speech Language Therapists, and it is a recognised ‘in need’ profession.

The breadth of assistance Speech Language Therapists offers means that the role is highly rewarding, challenging and varied.

And where does Wrexham Glyndwr University come into this?

To prepare for this role, we will support you throughout your studies into your professional career.

Our BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) degree is Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered and Royal College Speech and Language Therapist (RCSLT) accredited.

This means that it is a recognised “pre-registration” programme, and you would be able to practice as a Speech and Language Therapist upon successful completion of the three-year, full-time degree. The degree covers varied disciplines which all contribute towards the complete knowledge and skill base of a Speech and Language Therapist. There are also placements in health and social care every year to bring all that theory to life. In your first year of practice, as a newly qualified practitioner, you would uphold a clinical caseload in the NHS, with close supervision after being supported throughout your learning with us.

Our course programme team are all Speech and Language Therapists and feel passionately about the privilege of educating and shaping the next generation of their future colleagues.

The team work in conjunction with fantastic clinicians and heads of service in BCUHB (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board) who support student placements. WGU is also growing the Welsh speaking Speech Language Therapy workforce. This is essential as you, as a graduate, can meet the needs of Welsh speaking service users. The aim of the course is that service user needs are met in a holistic, collaborative, meaningful and consistent way. It is evidenced that outcomes are improved when care is delivered in the service user's home language.

2022 is the first year this degree has been available in North Wales at WGU, the only other degree programme in Wales to offer this opportunity is at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Wrexham Glyndwr University, in collaboration with Welsh health boards, will be growing the Speech and Language Therapy workforce every year from 2025 by supporting students in their studies and professional careers.

Lauren Salisbury, Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy, says that the team “couldn’t be more proud to be situated here in North Wales at WGU and to really make an impact for the future of our professional landscape. We're delighted to bring the opportunity to train as a SLT to North Wales for those who live locally and want to train and work locally too.”

If you want to learn how you can help others by studying with us at Glyndwr to become a Speech and Language Therapist then take a look at the information on our course page.