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education Updated: Jun 18, 2013 16:53 IST
Speech therapists


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. Speech therapy is still in its infancy as the number of qualified speech therapists in India is very small. Thus, the job prospects are tremendous. The services of speech therapists, apart from the hospitals, private practice, and schools, are available in community-based rehabilitative programmes, special schools for persons with disabilities, departments of physical medicine, old age homes, training institutes and research institutes. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists have job opportunities in India and other destinations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Gulf countries.

9am: Start dealing with patients referred for speech problems, in the OPD
1.30pm: Lunch
2pm: Attend specialised clinics/in-ward patient
3pm: Attend to patients with special needs
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 a training centre. The initial salary may range from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month. In the private sector, earnings depend on work settings and your expertise

* 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. Even the different centres of Mumbai-based Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped ask for varying subject combinations (including physics, chemistry, biology, maths, English, and computer science, among others). Check the details with individual institutions

Institutes and URLs
* Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai
* All India Institute of Speech & Hearing, Mysore
* Dr SRC Institute of Speech and Hearing, Bangalore
* Dr MV Shetty Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mangalore

Pros and cons
* Demand-supply gap; huge potential in the field in India
* Job opportunities abroad
* Not much awareness about such disorders and their treatment

A time is coming when cell phone users will need the services of a speech therapist --- Vakil Prasad Shah, assistant director, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, New Delhi