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Let's Talk - Lone SLT at a Secure Forensic Hospital


SLT career journeys won’t always be straightforward. It’s ok to not know everything. Know what you need to figure out, and where you can find the answer. As SLTs, we also need to know what questions to ask when patients present with suicidal ideation, and how to differentiate between psych patients and patients with communication disorders.

On April 18th, 2023, Maya Soni, PhD, joined us and shared with us what her role is all about, knowledge about her client group, fun facts about speech, language and dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), and how she overcame and made the most of the challenges from her career.

Maya currently works as the sole SLT in Wellesley Hospital.

Maya works mainly with male patients with learning disabilities on social communication but also has a wider dysphagia caseload across the hospital. In post for 2 years, this is her first clinical job but her previous career has been in dementia and language disorder research. After realising that seeing patients was her favourite part of her job, she went back to school to complete her SLT training.

Here are some of our key takeaways:

  • Maya’s most used tools of her trade are communication passports, communication cards, visual timetables, social stories!

  • Even the most casual task (e.g. going for a walk) can be a great way to do functional assessments and therapy.

  • It’s important for us to know what to ask when your patient presents with suicidal ideation because we have the opportunity to safeguard our patients (Hint: ‘Do you feel low in yourself?’; self-harm plans; plans of harming others…) This is also important for other settings including acute referrals.

  • One of the roles of an SLT is to differentiate psych patients and patients with communication disorders.

  • Make connections during student placement (or anywhere really).

  • Be good with learning - no one knows everything. Particularly understand what is your learning style and supervision style preferences to help you through your NQT years.

  • It’s ok to not know everything!! The more important thing is to know where you can find the answer to your questions.

  • Your journey can be bumpy, but make the most out of it!

  • It’s important to learn the psych questions because you will need to safeguard your patients.

If you would like to link up with Maya and chat all things about the brain, language, and her setting, here is how to reach her:

Maya is also a mentor in our mentoring programme! Want to link up and request to have her as a mentor? Sign up to be a mentee here!


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