SLT career pathways: My friend wrote a book!

When I was young (around 10 years old) I decided that one day it would be great if I could write a book. I really wanted to write a story, to put pen to paper and know that other people might read my words. As I got older I realised that normal people don’t become book authors (or artists). It doesn’t “pay”. I also realised that lots of people had the same ambition as me, and like me, decided it wasn’t a realistic goal.

So we set about making other career goals- to become speech and language therapists. To get a job. To get a job in an area we felt passionate about. To become a band 6….7…maybe an 8. This career follows a straight forward pathway often toward management. But that really isn’t the only pathway.

Recently my good friend Rhian Grounds, speech and language therapist extraordinaire, wrote a book. She and I studied together at UCL many moons ago. She worked in paediatrics and specialised in autism. She was the first of my friends to get a band 8 role. She managed a large south London trust. She dealt with budgets and performance management.

And now she has collaborated with a mother of a child with autism to write an accessible and useful resource on supporting families with a child with autism at home. The aim of this book is to make ideas accessible and straight forward for parents- to think of practical solutions on managing life in the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, in daily life. This book is due for release on the 19th of April (end of next week) but has already attracted a fair bit of positive interest and attention.

I feel re-inspired about my profession whenever I hear about friends and colleagues achieving these amazing things- sharing their knowledge and endeavouring to support people with communication difficulties in any way they can. It also reminds me that there are a range of career pathways available for speech and language therapists – including working in the NHS, education, third sector organisations, private practice (both clinically and managerial), writing books, going into research, lecturing, working overseas and many more. I feel the need to spread the word about all the opportunities this career can offer beyond the most obvious. It can be exciting and interesting and you can fulfill those childhood ambitions in all sorts of creative ways.

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