On Speech Language Pathology: What is it and What do SLPs do?

speech pathologist teaching children

When we talk about speech language pathology, there is a great misconception that it mainly revolves or only focuses on correcting difficulties in pronunciation such as improving lisps, taking care of cases of stuttering and/or enhancing enunciation problems of certain sounds.

Speech Pathology

While it is true that speech pathologists do help people with those aforementioned problems, the truth is speech pathology is much more than that. Speech pathology is actually a field of expertise which specializes in treating and evaluating disorders for adults and children with problems related to communication, cognition, swallowing and voice. So when it comes to problems with voice or swallowing, don’t go to a dentist because you need a speech pathologist.

Speech Pathologists

Speech pathologists are professionals who are actually highly-educated. In order to become one, you must at least have a master’s degree in the field of speech pathology. SLPs are also required to undergo anatomy, neuroanatomy, genetics, language development, acoustics, psychology and many more. This is mainly the reason why speech pathologists are qualified to diagnose and treat disorders covered by their field of expertise.

Indeed, speech language pathologists cover a wide range of services. They do not just assess and treat disorders, speech pathologists also support individuals and their families. They provide information to the general public as well.

professional speech pathologists available

The Process

Services offered by speech pathologists start with an initial screening; this is in order to determine the communication or swallowing disorder that may be present. Further assessment will be done; a diagnoses will then follow. A consultation will be necessary to hear what the pathologist advises; lastly, treatment or intervention will be done. Follow-up services should also be

Some of the problems that speech pathologists may be able to help with are the following:

  • Speech delays
  • Articulation and phonology disorders
  • Language delays (e.g. issues in finding words)
  • Comprehension and expression problems
  • Language fluency disorders (e.g. stuttering)
  • Social communication skills (e.g. reasoning)
  • Feeding or swallowing disorders
  • Literacy impairments
  • Voice difficulties (e.g. improving raspy voice)

Choosing a Speech Pathologist

When hiring a speech pathologist, make sure you hire someone who is a qualified professional as non-professionals may only bring harm to the patient.

  • Experience and Knowledge

Understandably, it’s very important for you to know about the educational background and working experience of your speech pathologist. Knowing this will help you determine if that pathologist is perfect for you. Inquire about his/her field of expertise/specialization as well. Although this should not be the sole determinant of your decision, this information still helps.

  • Location and Schedule

As much as possible, choose a speech pathologist who is not located in a faraway land. It’s always best if they are within easy reach. In addition, their schedules should also go along with your schedule. Otherwise, you might need to look for someone else if your schedules are not cooperating with each other.

  • Personality

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a speech pathologist is their personality. Get a feel of how they are like as a person and try to see if you or the patient is likely or unlikely to get along with them. Again, it’s very important to get along with your pathologist smoothly in order to avoid complications along the intervention.


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