Our mission is to train highly qualified Speech and Language Therapists to meet the needs in terms of communication and language in our multilingual and multicultural context in Lebanon.
Speech and Language Therapy is a communication health profession in charge of screening, assessment, intervention and prevention of disorders related to oral language and literacy, written language, fluency, voice and swallowing in the context of a developmental, neurological, genetic, sensory or other difficulties. Speech and Language Therapists provide this range of services for infant, children, teenagers, adults and seniors. The Higher Institute of Speech and Language Therapy (ISO) provides two speech therapy programs, one in French (since 1995) and one in English (since 2019). The validation of 240 ECTS credits at the rate of 30 credits per semester for 8 semesters (4 years) as well as the submission of a research project related to a field of SLT practice are required to obtain the bachelor’s degree in Speech Therapy (Undergraduate degree). Following the completion of the undergraduate program, a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Therapy is also available (since 2015). The validation of 60 credits as well as the submission of a dissertation are required to obtain the Master’s degree in SLT.
A history of innovation!
In 1968, the Higher Institute of Speech Therapy, affiliated to the Faculty of Medicine, was founded at Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ), the first French-speaking university in Lebanon. Because of the Lebanese war (1975-1990), the academic activities of the institute were interrupted.
In 1995, Mrs. Rouba El Khoury, a Speech and Language Therapist who graduated from Paris and who was aware of the pressing needs of language intervention for the Lebanese population, suggested to the university to re-open the Institute of Speech and Language Therapy. This project was done with the support of Orthophonistes du Monde (ODM - www.orthophonistesdumonde.fr) and with the partnership of the School of Speech Therapy of Tours University, in France. Since 1999, around 400 speech therapists graduated from ISO-USJ (Bac + 4, 240 ECTS credits).
Moreover, following the development of the profession during the last few years, a Master 2 course in speech therapy (60 credits ECTS) was launched in 2014-2015. It is available for SLTs who completed their undergraduate degree (240 credits ECTS, 8 semesters). This Master’s degree in speech therapy, which was created in response to high demand from Lebanese speech therapists, has been obtained, until now, by approximately one hundred SLTs.
In addition, given that our mission is to train multilingual speech and language therapists, and with the support of the rectorate of USJ and of many international collaborations, ISO developed, in 2019, a program of speech therapy in English.
With the precious support of our collaborators, particularly the INSERM team, U1253, Imagerie et cerveau (University of Tours), research was developed since 2009. Our research team started working on the first test for assessment of oral language addressed to bilingual Lebanese children (ELO-L, Zebib et al. 2017). Since then, multiple projects have been launched involving our master’s degree in SLT students, Phd in SLT students and the support of international partners in research. Our aim had been and will always be at fostering the development of highly qualified clinical interventions, the advancement of clinical practice in the fields of autism, oral and written language in multilingual contexts, prevention, fluency disorders and aphasiology.