Practice Education is a significant component of the professional training for speech and language therapists (Practice Educator CompetenciesBest Practice Guidelines - Therapy Project Office 2008).  One of the key aims of the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy in NUI Galway is to provide a comprehensive practice education programme so that speech and language therapists in training achieve a high level of competence, together with the necessary interpersonal skills, to work with a range of clients with communication and swallowing impairments.

Speech and language therapists in training are required to obtain experience in assessing, diagnosing and treating children and adults with communication and swallowing disorders in a variety of settings.

The B.Sc. (Speech and Language Therapy) provides excellent opportunities for practice education in a purpose-built on-site speech and language therapy clinic in Áras Moyola.  The NUI Galway and HSE speech and language therapy on-site clinic is a unique collaboration between the health services and the University.  The on-site clinic has the dual function of delivering high quality services to the public while at the same time providing a supportive learning environment for speech and language therapists in training.  Speech and language therapists in training are involved in the delivery of the service under the supervision of qualified speech and language therapists.

                              
  Photo: 2009 Speech and Language Therapy Graduates.  

 

The mission statement for the on-site clinic is:

“ To provide a centre of excellence in teaching and learning in speech and language therapy and to promote collaborative work between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and NUI Galway”.

The aims of the on-site clinic are:

  • To deliver a range of speech and language therapy services that are high quality, client-centred, accessible, and evidence-based
  • To facilitate speech and language therapists in training to develop clinical competencies in a range of clinical areas by providing a supportive learning environment and implementing best practice in education
  • To conduct high quality research in speech and language therapy intervention and practice education

The on-site clinic is staffed by a full time practice tutor, speech and language therapists from the HSE speech and language therapy service, and speech and language therapists employed by Voices for Down Syndrome Galway  (which is a voluntary group of parents of children with Down Syndrome).

Ms Margaret Rodden, Practice Tutor (HSE) is responsible for the overall co-ordination for the on-site clinic.  The on-site clinic provides speech and language therapists in training with excellent opportunities to work with a range of client groups, and to gain experience in a variety of models of intervention under the guidance of experienced speech and language therapists.

The on-site clinic has 5 treatment rooms with adjoining observation rooms.  Each of the clinic rooms is fully equipped with clinical equipment and audiovisual technology to facilitate student learning.  The observation rooms have one way mirrors and students and parents of children attending therapy can use these rooms to observe peers and qualified clinicians at work.  


The following work is conducted in the on-site clinic, depending on need:

  • Group therapy for children with speech, language and communication needs, who are on HSE caseloads
  • Provision of the Lee Silverman Voice Training Programme for adults with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Provision of specialist clinics in voice and fluency disorders
  • Provision of intensive therapy for people with aphasia
  • Provision of services for children and adults with Down Syndrome