Speech-Language Therapist Kaihaumanu Reo ā-Waha
Speech-language therapists assess and treat people who have problems with verbal communication or swallowing. This may include difficulties with speech, language, listening, reading or writing.
Registration with the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association (NZSTA) is recommended. NZSTA provides Annual Practising Certificates for members.
Speech-language therapists may do some or all of the following:
- assess and diagnose communication problems such as stuttering
- co-ordinate and plan treatments
- help clients learn to speak, listen, read or write
- lead group therapy sessions
- help children and adults learn to swallow and eat
- report on their clients
- educate and advise clients and their families.
Work with young children is useful experience.
Speech-language therapists need to be:
- patient and supportive
- able to put people at ease
- good communicators
- able to relate to people of all ages, and from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
Speech-language therapists need to have knowledge of:
- English or other languages
- how the brain, mouth, throat and voice box function
- medical conditions that can affect speech
- psychology and education theory, and child development and health
- community and family support services, and where to refer their clients.
- usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings
- work in therapy clinics or at locations such as schools, rest homes and hospitals.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, English, languages and te reo Māori.
Speech-language therapists may progress to work in managerial or research roles. They may also move between work in the education and health industries.
Speech-language therapists may specialise in a field of work, or work with particular groups of people such as:
- children (paediatrics)
- the elderly
- children and adults who have physical disorders such as difficulties swallowing, or cleft lips or palates.
Years Of Training4-5 years of training required.
To become a speech-language therapist you need to have a:
- Bachelor's degree in speech and language pathology (Hons) or speech and language therapy (Hons)
- Master's degree in speech and language pathology or speech-language therapy practice.
- University of Canterbury website - information on the Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology (Hons)
- Massey University website - information on the Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy (Hons)
- University of Auckland website - information on the Master of Speech-Language Therapy Practice
- University of Canterbury website - information on the Master of Speech and Language Pathology
Vulnerable Children Act
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.