8 Things We Love About Being Adult Speech Pathologists 

adult speech pathologists

We love being adult speech pathologists at Speak and Swallow Speech Therapy. This career has captured our hearts and we find so much joy in being able to support adults with communication and swallowing difficulties to interact, eat and live with confidence, dignity and joy.

Are you a uni student thinking about becoming an adult speech pathologist when you graduate? Maybe you’re tossing up your career options and want to know if becoming an adult-focused speech pathologist is right for you. 

Keep on reading to hear from our team of adult speech pathologists to discover what they love most about their career, how they got started, and what inspires them each and every day. 

8 Reasons to Love Being an Adult Speech Pathologist 

#1: Adult Speech Pathologists Make a Meaningful Difference in People’s Lives

One of the first things that comes to mind for us when we think about what we love about being adult speech pathologists is the impact we make on people’s lives. Being able to support adults with communication and swallowing difficulties to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life and overall wellbeing is so rewarding. 

Seeing our clients progress and achieve their goals in sessions is one thing, but knowing that their achievement has a flow on effect to their day-to-day life and even their families really makes our day. 

#2: Every Day is Different for Adult Speech Pathologists

When it comes to working with adults, from age 18 all the way up to 100 (and beyond!) there is so much variety. When working as an adult Speech Pathologist, you get to support people with a range of conditions that means thatmeaning no two days ever look the same. 

Working across the adult lifespan in this way really helps to grow your clinical knowledge at a rapid rate, and can feel less repetitive when compared with pediatric speech therapy. Every day presents different challenges and opportunities for growth, as we collaborate closely with clients to tailor interventions that suit their specific needs and goals.

Adult speech pathologists also benefit from being able to collaborate with a wide network of allied health professionals to provide quality care to their clients. This includes collaborating with health professionals like dieticians, occupational therapists, psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, neurologists, and GP’s.

#3: Adult Speech Pathologists Apply Neuroscience and Psycholinguistics 

Are you interested in the science side of Speech Pathology? Or maybe linguistics has really caught your attention in uni, and you’d like the opportunity to delve deeper into psycholinguistics in your day-to-day work. If that sounds like you, you’ll find your people when you join a team of adult speech pathologists upon graduation.

Adult speech pathologists often get more exposure to the neurological side of professional practice, working with adults and their families who are impacted by disease or trauma. Progressive neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neuron Disease, and Huntington’s Disease are common to see in an adult speech pathology caseload. You’ll also likely work alongside adults with language difficulties stemming from acquired brain injury, like Aphasia. That’s where your psycholinguistics knowledge and the beloved PALPA model will really come into play.

#4: Supporting Adults with Swallowing Difficulties to Improve Quality of Life

Adult speech pathologists work across all range of practice areas, but swallowing is a particularly important area that we get to explore. Swallowing difficulties can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life; changing the way they engage with mealtimes, social outings, and directly impacts the foods and drinks they can enjoy on a daily basis. 

Adult speech pathologists get to help people work towards meaningful goals that address their swallowing difficulties while finding ways to improve their quality of life. It’s a practical and powerful part of our role as speech pathologists.

#5: Adult Speech Pathologists Can Work Just About Anywhere

One of the common misconceptions you may come across when you are studying speech pathology at university is that in order to work with adults, you need to work in a hospital. While you might really enjoy your hospital placement, the acute ward can be really confronting, and supporting rehabilitation in the community might sound more appealing to you. 

Being able to work just about anywhere is one of the things we love about being adult speech pathologists. As an example, at Speak and Swallow Speech Therapy we offer sessions from our clinic, in our client’s homes (including nursing and disability homes), and out in the community at local cafes. It’s a lot more flexible and tailored to the individual, and gives us time to build rapport with each of our clients.

All of this is to say, that if working only acute hospital, seeing patients for short bursts and limited by red-tape, but still want to work with adults, there are plenty of options for you! Keep studying hard and if you’re interested to find out more about what it’s like doing a mix of clinic and home visit speech therapy for adults, send us a message so we can answer all of your burning questions.

#6: Adult Speech Pathologists Get to Support Increased Autonomy

For most adult clients, increasing autonomy is a big focus. As adult speech pathologists, we’re able to support our clients to increase their autonomy through involving them in the goal setting process and working towards communication and safe swallowing strategies that help them to engage in activities that are meaningful to them. 

Adults often come into speech therapy sessions with goals in mind and motivation to get them there, and it’s an exciting journey to be a part of as a speech pathologist. There’s nothing quite like being able to help an adult to say “I love you” to a spouse or family member for the first time after a brain injury, or helping someone to eat that cheeseburger they are craving even though they are on a modified diet.

#7: Adult Speech Pathologists Learn From Their Clients

As adult speech pathologists, we spend a lot of time chatting with our clients about their lives and experiences. Along the way, you’ll find that you pick up something that sticks with you – be it parenting advice, words of wisdom, or even just a cuddle from a beloved pet that sets the tone for the rest of your day.

#8: Adult Speech Pathologists Get to Support Clients Long-Term

In many cases, clients accessing speech therapy for adults to address symptoms of a disorder or acquired condition will often spend quite a bit of time in therapy. Adult speech pathologists working in a clinic or community setting have the unique opportunity to get to support clients and their families over the long-term, building up a lot of rapport and trust over time.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that we start to care about our clients like they’re family – we share a cup of tea together, celebrate wins together, get upset when something not-so-good happens together, and in everything we go above and beyond to make sure they get the care they deserve.

Feeling inspired? We sure hope so! If you are a university student currently studying a Speech Pathology degree in Australia, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions that may have popped up for you. 

Reach out to our friendly team today and let us see how we can support you in your journey to becoming an adult-focused speech pathologist

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