Speech is the soul of all types of communication. Mastery over the art of communication easily makes one a cut above others in a crowd. And this mastery calls for, before any other things, the ability to speak in a clear and intelligible voice.
For these who wish to achieve distinction as a film or TV personality, Radio Jockey or Video Jockey as also a public orator, motivational speaker, etc., command over a good voice is imperative. So, the professionals called speech therapists are very much in demand. They are responsible for treating various speech defects and disorders that affect one’s ability to correctly pronounce words, speak in clear and audible voice and so on. As these disorders can be both physiological and psychological, a speech therapist’s jobs is quite challenging. Nevertheless, the job offers healthy dividends both in terms of monetary gains and enrichment of life’s creative experiences. In all, speech therapy can be bright and prospective career destination for those who are diligent, self-possessed and challenge-loving.
When we hear people in conversation all around us, we seldom realize that some people might be having problems with their speech. In many cases the difficulty in uttering or articulating words are often a result of hearing disorders. In some cases, the reason why people are incapable of using their auditory as well as speech faculties (partially of fully) may either be physiological or psychological. Other problems like stammering, developmental disorder due to injury or congenital defects such as a cleft palate or cerebral palsy could result in hearing impairment, which in turn can cause difficulty in articulation. In case of mentally-retarded children or victims of accidents, such disorders are probable. An early detection and diagnosis of ailments help in deciding the right course of treatment. For this you need specialists known as speech therapists. While speech or language disorder is treated by a speech pathologist, the audiologist assists people with auditory complications.
The minimum qualification required for entry into any recognized institute is Physics, Chemistry and Biology combination at intermediate level with a minimum score of 50 percent. All the good institutions are recognized by Rehabilitation Council of India which incidentally is the standard bearer in this field. There are a few large hospitals which offer a graduate programmes in speech pathology and audiology. These with Maths background can also apply to a few institutes. You might pursue a two-year Masters Course after graduation and even complete a PhD (three-five years). Such course will give you a comprehensive theoretical knowledge as well as practical insight. For teachers who opt to specialize in working with children suffering from auditory impairments, there is a B.Ed programme.
Dedication, patience, compassion and sympathy are prerequisites for those who wish to take up this profession. You will have to be flexible in responding to the different needs of different people. Excellent communication skills will help you immensely in this profession. Most importantly you should be able to diagnose the nature of difficulty to facilitate effective treatment of the problem. A scientific temper, coupled with power of keen observation with composure, will give you an extra edge.
Speech therapists treat the problems related to utterances, cognition (thought process) and fluency. Sign language, tip reading and exercises in articulating one-self are some of the common techniques which are used to make life a little easier for people with speech problems. In the beginning you may earn anything between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,000 per month. For experienced therapists the remuneration is likely to be anywhere between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 60,000. Btu it is important to point out here, that physical setting from where you operate along with the quality of service will have a major say in determining the size of your income.
Quantum leaps have been made in this field with coming of computerized speaking devices, voice amplifiers as well as x-ray technology for swallowing disorders. As a result more and more people are getting benefited making a significant difference to their lives. This has led to greater demand of speech therapists and audiologists. besides finding ready employment in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, speech therapy clinics, nursing homes, spastics’ schools, counseling centers, etc. Speech therapists often work along with specialists like neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and the like the diagnose complications. In addition, they also tie up with health professionals like physiotherapists and occupational therapists to speed up the recovery process. other viable options include joining linguistic centers or offering consultation services at hospitals and schools.
Since communication is integral to life and human existence, therefore, language therapists are greatly in demand. The amount of effort you put in may not always get paid with equal material benefits. Its reward mainly lies in knowing that you have helped and enabled somebody to participate fully in life. Single minded devotion and patience are essential to become a true professional in this field.
Where To Study?
- Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Kishenchand Marg, Bandra Reclamation, Mumbai (Maharashtra)
- Topiwala National Medical College, BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Dr. A.L. Nair Road, Mumbai (Maharashtra)
- Indian Institute of Health Education and Research, Health Institute Road, Near Central Jail, Beur, Patna (Bihar)
- National Institute of Physiotherapy and Communication Disorders, PMP Bhavan, Kashi Nath Lane, East Lohainpur, Patna (Bihar)
- Christian Medical College, Thorapudi, Vellore (Tamil Nadu)
- University of madas, Chepauk (Tamil Nadu)
- Institute of Health Sciences, AB Shetty Circle, Managalore (Karnataka)
- Shri Ramchandra Medical College and Research Institute, Porur, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
- Institute of Speech and Hearing, hennur Road, Bangalore (Karnataka)
- Kasturba Medical College, Manipal (Karnataka)
- Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector-12, Chandigarh-160012.