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Straight talk

Speech therapists diagnose and provide treatment/counselling to people with speech, voice and language (and hearing) problems due to various causes, such as intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, strokes, accidents and cancer.

education Updated: Apr 04, 2012 17:58 IST

The lowdown
Speech therapists diagnose and provide treatment/counselling to people with speech, voice and language (and hearing) problems due to various causes, such as intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, strokes, accidents and cancer. They may work with children, adults or the elderly. In India, you can study both speech therapy and audiology together at the bachelor’s as well as master’s levels. Postgraduate programmes with specialisation either in speech-language pathology or audiology are also offered. Therapists can work in government as well as private hospitals, special schools, non-governmental organisations focusing on the speech- and hearing-disabled. However, not many choose this as a career option due to lack of awareness about speech-language disorders

Clockwork
A speech therapist’s average day at a tertiary-care hospital:
9am: Start dealing with patients referred for speech problems
1.30pm: Lunch
2pm: Attend specialised clinics/in ward patient
4pm: Complete file work/reports
5pm: Pack-up for the day and return home

The payoff
The starting salary depends on whether a speech-language pathologist holds a clinical or teaching faculty position in a hospital or at any training centre. The initial salary may range from Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Scientific aptitude
* Strong interpersonal skills to work with patients of different age groups

Getting there
The eligibility criterion for the bachelor’s in hearing and speech and language pathology varies

Institutes and URLs
* Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai and regional centres in Kolkata, Secunderabad and New Delhi www.ayjnihh.nic.in
* All India Institute of Speech & Hearing, Mysore www.aiishmysore.com
* BYL Nair Hospital and Medical College, Mumbai www.nair.edu
* Dr SRC Institute of Speech and Hearing, Bangalore www.speechear.org
* Dr MV Shetty Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mangalore www.drmvst.org
* More details are given on www.rehabcouncil.nic.in, the website of the Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi

Pros and cons
* Satisfying work
* Demand-supply gap; huge potential in the field in India
* Job opportunities in several foreign countries
* Not much awareness about it

Prospects get better as you go for higher studies. There are opportunities available both in India and abroad Manoj Kumar Nirala, a speech therapist who also worked with Manovikas Community College, Delhi