I trained as a Speech and Language Therapist at the University of Glasgow, graduating with my BSc (Hons) degree in 1995. I then continued my professional development obtaining my Post-graduate Certificate in Advanced Speech and Language Therapy from Strathclyde University in 1998 and completing my MSc in Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care in 2008 at the University of Dundee. I have worked in a range of different settings with diverse populations since qualifying, but over the last 14 years my clinical practice has focussed on adult mental health with a particular clinical interest in neurodivergence. I continue to work in an NHS role supporting the work of Community Mental Health Teams and for the last 10 years I have also worked in a specialist adult autism team where I undertook diagnostic assessments as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Throughout my career I have seen how difficulties affecting the ability to communicate with others can have a negative impact on a person’s sense of self, their relationships and their ability to participate in wide range of activities from accessing education, to securing employment and engaging in leisure pursuits. As such, individuals who experience difficulties with their speech and/or language abilities also often experience issues with their mental health and wellbeing. As a Speech and Language Therapist I aim to ensure that the communication challenges an individual experiences do not prevent them from accessing either their mental health treatment or other activities that support their mental wellbeing. This work is therefore often undertaken in partnership with another profession such as Clinical Psychology or Occupational Therapy. Speech and Language Therapy can also offer therapeutic intervention to enhance a person’s communication skills or to develop effective management strategies.