What does a Speech Pathologist do?
When you hear "Speech Pathologist," "Speech Therapist," or "SLP" most likely your first thought is they are the people who teach you how to say your sounds correctly. Think lisps, difficulty saying "r," etc. Well, this is true, but the Speech Pathologist scope of practice is much larger than just speech sound corrections. SLP's are licensed to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a wide array of disorders and deficits from speech sound disorders to feeding and swallowing deficits.
While this list is in no way comprehensive, here is a quick look at the 3 main areas SLP's work in:
Speech and Voice:
Speech Sound Disorders-how we articulate the sounds we make
Phonology and Phonetics-speech patterns and word manipulation
Voice Disorders-pitch, pace, volume, breathing disorders, and medical concerns such as vocal nodules
Expressive language-what words we use to express needs, wants, etc.
Receptive language-what we understand from language we hear
Pragmatic language-how we use our language skills in social situations
Feeding and Swallowing
Bottle feeding/breastfeeding-latching, lip closure, sucking
Feeding-sensory and food aversions
Swallowing-anatomy and physiology of the swallow mechanism
In conclusion, a SLP can work with a lot of different concerns. If you have any concerns about your child's speech, language, or feeding development, please contact a Speech Pathologist to discuss and see if an evaluation is warranted. The earlier intervention occurs the better the outcome results.
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