Two British Speech Therapists writing about all things speech and language.

You know you’re a speech therapist when…

Elizabeth and I were chatting about all the little things that happen in everyday life because we’re speech therapists.  If you are a speech therapist, I wonder if you recognise any of these?….


You know you’re a speech therapist when….

  • You are in the supermarket and instead of pulling your purse out of your handbag, you pull out a pot of bubbles or a pack of sound cards.  In fact I think my purse, keys and phone are the only non-speech therapy things in my handbag.  However, if you ever need a black pen, dice, some game counters, stickers or a set of verb pictures, I always have them with me!
  • The only landmarks you can think of when giving someone directions are all the local schools.  Usually people don’t find this terribly helpful!
  • You go into a toy shop with your child and start counting how many different uses you could find for each toy in therapy.  The same applies to my child’s birthday and Christmas presents.  My daughter is fascinated by what I do with each of her toys and games that I borrow, and wants to know what we were practising and how it helped a child to talk.  I will make a speech therapist of her yet!…
  • You confuse car salesmen by being very prescriptive about how much boot space you need.  The last time this happened to me, the man in the garage asked me if I would like to get my buggy out and try it.  “No,” I said, “We don’t have one any more.  But I do need to know if all these boxes and games will fit in as they come with me everywhere” and I opened the boot of my current car to show him!
  • Your iPad is almost full and hardly any of the apps are for you or anyone in your household!
  • You can’t fully focus on a TV programme as you are too busy analysing the speech patterns of different people’s accents or noticing lisps.
  • You are always the person pulling funny faces at the baby in front of you in the queue at the supermarket or pulling one of the many random items out of your handbag to try to distract them!
  • You get very excited when you see stickers on sale!
  • You go to a party and spend half the time chatting to people you’ve never met before about their children’s language development.  This sounds like a complaint, but actually I don’t mind – I love talking about my job!
  • You sign across the pub to a fellow speech therapist when they’re buying you a drink from the bar!

As I was writing this, my husband was reading over my shoulder and making his own suggestions – perhaps I should get him to write about being married to a speech therapist one day!  His suggestions were that we talk in acronyms all the time (ASD, MLD, CELF) and that when you get a group of us together we never shut up about speech and language!

Do you recognise any of these?  Are there any more you would add to the list?

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  1. Diane Clow Diane Clow
    November 7, 2016    

    I can particularly relate to the handbag observation ….my boot is the same as my handbag …. full of everything ‘I might just need’ ! I like the tv one too … I am forever distracted by people’s speech on tv and want to ‘fix’ the issue !
    Never have I loved Velcro so much … and found so many uses for it !
    I now know how ‘the bag lady ‘ feels laden down with numerous bags !
    I have become obsessive about the correct use of ‘your/you’re’ and ‘to/too’ … amongst others !

    …. but above all I wouldn’t change anything … I love my job as a Clinical Support Worker for Speech and Language … it’s THE most rewarding job ever ! 😀

  2. Theresa Theresa
    November 7, 2016    

    I have been working as an SLT nearly 30 years …my car boot is full of games / books etc just in case. When my children got presents and grandchildren get presents – I always look for the potential to make use of it. At car boot sales or charity shops I still look for games/books I can use in clinic. My husband thinks we should be charging the NHS for storage !!

  3. Jan baerselman Jan baerselman
    November 8, 2016    

    I recognise all of these Helen – and chuckled my way through them over breakfast! I was so busy analysing the leaders non-verbal communication at the televised leaders debate last general election that I didn’t hear a word they said. My children have been diagnosing lateral s, labiodental r and lisps, since age 7. Best of all my kids say they love meeting my SLT colleagues “because they always ask the right questions and just know how to talk to us”. I think a study into the communication skills of children of SLTs might throw up interesting results!

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