The History of ASLTIP

Date: 13th July 2014

Posted on: 13-07-2014

Many SLTs may not appreciate that the Association of SLTs in independent practice (ASLTIP) was 21 earlier this year. The memories of the founder members will soon be published in a celebratory edition of ‘ITP’, ASLTIP’s (now online) magazine. Some of these early members are still practising and our debt of gratitude to their farsightedness is part of the reason for this blog.


Independent practice back in the 80s and 90s was an even rarer thing than today and SLTs who made the leap into the unknown did so mostly alone. There had been an earlier group called ‘Communilink’ which organised a referral system and annual training but more cohesion was needed. So ASLTIP was inaugurated when Maria was galvanised into action and called together Janet Farrugia, Ann Calder and Sue Bell, who with the collaboration of the then Chair of RCSLT, Liz Clark, wrote the first constitution and formed its committee.


Reasons given for going independent vary enormously but some are those that we would recognise today. Janet Farrugia, one of the first members, recalls that she was aware one day, as she walked into her clinic waiting room, that she could hardly recognise the young client she was about to review from a few months earlier. She started to question the effectiveness of her intervention ‘as no matter how comprehensive my notes were they could not compensate for the lack of relationship and rapport with this young girl’. Sue Bell talks of the ‘constraints’ she felt on her practice when such a small profession was struggling to provide for the communication needs of the many. And how that word resonates with us all now!


It was obvious that there was a need for support and information for those out there trying to do the job without a management structure. Maria Farry comments in her account of the early days that the management of the private hospital appeared to care little for standards of intervention or note keeping as long as they ticked the SLT box. Janet recalls that while standards of independent intervention were typically high most independent SLTs had no idea about the business side of professional behaviour when starting a practice, whilst Sue Bell remembers how she knew there was a need for professional accountability. ASLTIP came together and served these functions from the outset. It started with about 80 members and now stands at nearly 1000. From the beginning the committee fought for understanding and mutual respect across all members of the profession. They worked with RCSLT and independent providers, insurance companies and training bodies to set standards and to establish ‘timely and relevant communications’ for the membership countrywide. This Blog is built on those firm foundations and moves us on in the electronic age. Great communicating for those who enable communication!


Hilary Gardner


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