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Role Of Speech-Language Therapist In Community            

Who is Speech-Language Therapist?

What is community-based rehabilitation center?

Community-based rehabilitation center (CBR) is a strategy in community development for disabled people (OKU) in rehabilitation, equality in obtaining opportunities and social integration.

Implementation of CBR is a unity of efforts from disabled people, family members and community in conjunction with health, educational, vocational and social services, you can access the following website for further information : www.jkm.gov.my and www.cbrnetworkmalaysia.blogspot.my.

Other community centers established by non-government agencies are NASOM (for children with autism: www.nasom.org.my), Kiwanis (for children with Down syndrome: www.kdsf.org.my), a SPASTIC center for individuals who have cerebral palsy and others. List of rehabilitation and support can be obtained in website www.disabilitymalaysia.com.

Source: thestar.com.my

Source: thestar.com.my
Alzheimer Centre (www.disabilitymalaysia.com), NASAM (center for those who suffering from stroke: www.nasam.org) and others are established for adults in the community.

What is the role of Speech-Language Therapist at the community center?

  • To carry out screening, assessment and diagnosis on children or adults in terms of :
    • Communication, language understanding, use of language, speech, voice, swallowing, fluency of speech and hearing impairment
    • To rule out the causes of the difficulty in communication or communication problems that impact on a person quality of life.
    • For example, children who do not have an adequate vocabulary or speech problems (unclear speech) would face limited communication with people around them
    • There are cases where alternative or augmentative communication can be used to help them communicating their needs, feelings and expressing what they wanted to say with pictures or/and words
  • Collaborate with supervisor / trainer in drafting suitable Individual Education Plan (RPI)
  • To provide speech therapy (re) habilitation services to the children or adults.
    • Therapy is conducted individually or in group.
  • To provide guidance to the trainers, teachers and parents in the community center on :
    • Normal language-speech development
    • Techniques to stimulate language acquisition
    • Techniques to improve speech intelligibility and fluency (e.g. unclear speech @ stuttering)
    • Effective communication methods
    • Alternative or augmentative communication
    • Appropriate techniques to eat and drink safely
  • Involve in the assessment panel and as reference for school placement, medical needs and occupation
  • Consult parents, teachers and community regarding language, speech and communication.
  • To refer to the other health professional when necessary.
    • Examples: occupational therapist, physiotherapist, clinical psychologist and dieticians (expert in nutrition).

What are the services offered by the Speech-Language Therapist at the community level?

  1. Implementation of Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHS) program in every hospital.
    • The aim is to raise public awareness about speech therapy and hearing.
    • These activities consist of talks, exhibitions and others.
  2. Organization of talks or training at the community centers e.g. PDK
    • Any reference to a Speech-Language Therapist should obtain a referral letter from a medical officer at the Klinik Kesihatan by the parent.
  3. Providing speech therapy service at the community center.
    • Parents can enquire the teacher at the community center in advance to find out availability of the service.
  4. Home visiting
    • For example, a client with stroke who is bedridden may not be able to attend hospital visit as frequent. Home visit helps to ensure speech therapy service is accessible to them by the community therapist from the hospital.
    • Usually, it is carried out in a group of rehabilitation team. It consists of other professional such as dieticians (expert in nutrition), occupational therapist, physiotherapist and medical officers.
    • However, the team visiting will only available in certain hospital around the country.

What type of disorders encountered?

The aspects that are managed by the Speech-Language Therapist during screening or assessment are:

The disorders that are most often faced and managed by Speech-Language Therapist are as below :



  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Syndromic children (e.g. Down syndrome)
  • Hearing impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Cerebral palsy
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Cleft lip and/or palate
  • Delayed development of language and speech of other causes
  • Head and neck injury or cancer
  • Stroke
  • Head and neck injury or cancer
  • Motor Neuron Disorder e.g. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Other neurological disorder e.g. Dementia


What are the activities and facilities available in a community center?

Different facilities available in each community center, some may have the basic tools such as table, chair, toys, and storybooks to name of few.

Meanwhile, activities that will be conducted during speech-language therapy session are depending on the needs of the child or that particular individual. For instance, playing and interacting using toys such as cooking set, cars and others are able to stimulate development of speech and language.

Sumber: hmetro.com.my

All of the activities aimed at independency, improving the quality of life of individuals with disability and for adult, client are expected to actively participated and get back to work later if suitable.


Overall, there are plenty of PDK’s built in the country although the amount of Speech-Language Therapists working within the community are still inadequate. Speech-Language Therapist in hospital or private sector working together with many PDK to alleviate the urgent needs of speech therapy to the community and networking is important in order to make sure everyone received the services needed.


  1. American Speech and Hearing Association retrieved at http://www.asha.org/policy/sp2007-00283/#sec1.5
  2. Community Based Rehabilitation retrieved at www.cbrnetworkmalaysia.blogspot.my
  3. Disability Malaysia retrieved at www.disabilitymalaysia.com
  4. Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat retrieved at www.jkm.gov.my
  5. Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation retrieved at www.kdsf.org.my
  6. Pusat Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti retrieved at www.pdkselayang.blogspot.com
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer / Translator : Noor Ra’idah Rufaidah bt. Tuah
Accreditor / Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi