Key Facts Speech and Language Therapy


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The Speech and Language Therapy industry has experienced steady growth over the past five years, driven in part by favourable demographic changes.

  • The expanding population in older age groups is prone to medical conditions that result in speech, language and swallowing problems.

  • Speech and Language Therapists carry out work which is preventative, aiming to prevent specific speech impairments developing.

  • A cleft palate (which requires therapy) is the fourth most common birth defect, affecting approximately 1 of every 700 live births.

  • A speech disorder is not just a difficulty in producing sound, but also a disorder involving the quality of a person’s voice or their fluency of speech.

  • A person with a language disorder has problems receiving, understanding and formulating what they read, what other people say, or even things they want to say.

  • There are more than 160 cases of Landau-Kieffner Syndrome (LKS), a childhood disorder that involves a loss in the ability to understand and use language.

  • Speech problems affect somewhere between 5 to 20 percent of the preschool population and 1 in ten need long-term support.

  • Statistics show that for a child with a speech problem, 20 percent of his family members also have speech problems. In other words, speech problems are highly genetic.

  • Improved communication has an impact on literacy, social skills, peer relationships, self-confidence and behaviour.

  • Speech and language therapists have a role in delivering specialist and targeted support to patients, carers and their families.

  • There is an increased need for bilingual staff and support workers in most areas of the UK to meet the needs of diverse communities.

  • There is evidence that early and more intensive speech and language therapy interventions are more effective.

  • Medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment and possible treatment from a speech and language therapist.