Who are Speech-Language Pathologists?
This is a thoroughly trained professional who assists children that have language impediments to vocalize with clarity, put their deepest feelings into words, and gain a prompt interpretation of what others say.
As speech is different from language, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) needs to study two different fields. These people provide treatment and support for people of all ages – from infants to adults. SLPs can help with a wide range of disorders. These include:
Speech disorders – Happens when someone has trouble generating speech sounds fluently or correctly.
Language disorders – Happens when someone has trouble understanding others, sharing feelings, ideas, thoughts, and/or using language in socially appropriate and functional ways.
Cognitive communication disorders – Happens when someone has difficulties problem-solving, paying attention, organizing thoughts, or planning.
Social communication disorders – Happens when someone has trouble with different social aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Swallowing disorders – It happens when someone has difficulty swallowing and eating.
These highly trained clinicians work as part of an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including physicians, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, teachers, social workers, etc.
The job duties of a speech-language therapist include:
·Developing and applying treatment plans based on the recommendation from the interdisciplinary team members and on their own professional assessment
·Monitoring patients’ progress and accordingly altering their treatment plans
·Writing reports regarding patient assessment, treatment, progress, and discharge, alongside documenting patient care
·Ordering, conducting, and assessing speech, language, and hearing examinations and tests
·Educating patients and their family members on communication techniques, treatment plans, and strategies to deal with speech/language obstacles
·Designing, developing and implementing diagnostic and communication strategies or devices
·Developing and employing speech and language programs
While most SLPs are associated with direct patient care, they also fulfill other roles in several different areas. These include research, advocacy, program coordination and administration, consultation, supervision, teaching at the postsecondary level, and product development and evaluation.
SLPs, at a minimum, have a master’s degree in CSD (Communication Sciences and Disorders). Most master’s degrees in CSD include Master of Education (M. Ed.) programs and Master of Science (MS) programs. SLPs need to complete a CAA-accredited program to obtain national certification and state licensure. In most states, SLPs also need to fulfill additional state licensure requirements. They can earn the CCC-SLP certification through the ASHA. To earn this certification, candidates have to graduate from an accredited program, clear an exam, and complete a fellowship under a certified SLP’s supervision.