“In addition to the six founding organisations, nearly 50 organisations from all over the world participate in ICP. To encourage international knowledge-sharing, we’ve asked the Icelandic Association of Speech Language Therapists to provide us with a bit more information about their work and the status of communication disorders in Iceland.”
Learn more about the work of the Icelandic Association of Speech Language Therapists:
The Main Purpose of the Icelandic Association of Speech Language Therapists
The Icelandic Association of Speech Language Therapists (FTÍ) is a professional organisation with just over 100 members, including speech language therapists, speech teachers (teachers who specialise in children with speech and language delays) and students. Its purpose is a) to unite all speech language therapists and speech teachers, b) to provide continued education for members, c) to cooperate with international associations of speech language therapists and d) to promote the profession for the public.
FTÍ organises educational seminars and occasionally organises conferences. The Association also has a journal called Talfræðingurinn. Annually, FTÍ organises events around the European Day of Speech Therapy on March 6 and hosts social events for its members two to three times yearly. FTÍ also supports its members in many ways related to ethical and professional issues. FTÍ is often asked its advice about issues regarding communication disorders, either by the state or municipalities. It also tries to influence the authorities with regard to improving services for people with communication and swallowing disorders.
Biggest Challenges FTI Faces
The biggest challenge FTÍ faces is a lack of understanding from government and the public regarding the needs of people with communication and swallowing problems and the effectiveness of speech and language therapy. There are very few positions for speech language therapists within public organisations in the health and the educational sector. This can be partly explained by the limited availability of speech language therapists in the past 30 years. However, it also seems to be caused by the low profile and little publicity related to communication and swallowing disorders. Another related challenge is a general lack of knowledge about the speech language therapist’s scope of practice. For example, knowledge is lacking about the role speech language therapists play in cases of dysphagia and dementia as well as the value of speech language therapists in diagnosing developmental speech and language disorders.
Prevalence of Communication Disorders in Iceland
Prevalence data about communication disorders or swallowing disorders in the Icelandic population is unavailable. FTÍ mostly relies on published data from other countries. However, the Association is aware that much of its clinical population is underserviced. The waiting lists are very long and many of patients aren’t diagnosed as early as FTÍ would like.
To get in contact with FTÍ, email [email protected].