A Brief Background…
Not long ago I had my last day as an NHS Speech Therapist that I’d been working as for nearly 16 years! I had my leaving meal with my closest colleagues and the finality of it all was when I went in to hand my laptop /ID badge- I am now a full time private SLT – Wohoo!
I’ve been through a mixture of emotions over the last two months since handing in my notice at work and this past week has been the most mixed: of stress of finishing my last bits of work so my colleagues don’t think I left a mess, excitement about now finally focusing on helping children who have difficulty with talking privately and of course, some sadness that I will miss my colleagues, families and schools I worked with.
I love the NHS, and my time there was amazing. However, I am now free to focus on what I really want to do, to offer a service where I hold nothing back, to invest in my own development (and also free to spend more quality time with my family 😊).
So, this leads me back to the initial question that most people ask me: what do I do as an Independent Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and what’s the difference between me and an NHS SLT?
As an NHS SLT I…
Developed a professional work ethic which I don’t believe you will get anywhere else. The protocols, systems, processes and steps led me to develop a real sharp professionalism. For this alone I am grateful to the 16 years’ I spent working there. As a Speech Therapist, we offered ‘packages of care’ (basically a set of therapy sessions) which could be as low as a single session through to multiple sessions over several months. An NHS Therapist has a prescribed period of therapy that always has an exit point in sight. The model is highly ‘consultative’ which means the Therapists’ aim is to demonstrate and advise those around the child to carry out therapy activities themselves at home/ nursery/ school etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are some packages where the Therapist will do a more hands-on work but the majority of it is showing adults what they need to be doing. There is research to show the effectiveness of this approach.
Now, this leads to what does a Private Speech Therapist offer?
Ok so for me, I am always looking to up-skill the parents and staff I work with and to give them as much of my knowledge as possible. I teach parents/ staff effective techniques that will help their child improve communication. However, I offer more hands-on Therapy than you can typically expect from an NHS Therapist, as I have greater flexibility over what I can deliver. I can come to see parents on days and times that are more flexible for them, for example, or I can spend longer with your child to get to know their communication needs which, in turn, allows me to plan Therapy very specifically for them or adapt things quite quickly whilst working with them. I can see your child as regularly as required to help both you and your young talker to remember what you need to be doing!
This is the biggest difference for families. I am there as often as you need me and I can provide that little bit of extra support and guidance to help get you and your young talker to where you want to be
Aside from the support in sessions, I also regularly check-in to see how things are progressing, offer reminders and sometimes give you that little push to stay on top of the actions we agreed! In this way I try and act more as a speech and language coach, staying with you on the journey, being there when you need my support and cheering you on from the side-lines as we work together to super-charge your young talker’s communication journey!
If you’re worried about your little one’s communication and you’re looking for someone to help you further then drop me a line here to see how I can help you.