What Is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-language pathology is a field of expertise in healthcare that is practiced by a clinician known as a speech-language pathologist (commonly called a SLP, or speech therapist).
SLPs work with individuals across the lifespan and specialize in the assessment and treatment of:
- Speech challenges (such as speech sound production/articulation difficulties, apraxia of speech, dysarthria, voice or resonance difficulties, fluency challenges like stuttering and cluttering).
- Language challenges (difficulty understanding what others say or write; difficulty expressing needs, wants, thoughts, ideas, and feelings).
- Social communication challenges (difficulty with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication; a common challenge for individuals with autism but may also affect other individuals, such as those with a traumatic brain injury).
- Cognitive-communication challenges (such as difficulty organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem solving to the extent that they interfere with communication).
- Swallowing challenges (medically known as dysphagia and include difficulties with feeding and swallowing following an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury).
SLPs are also trained to provide:
- Aural rehabilitation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for individuals with expressive and/or language comprehension difficulties that may co-occur with autism or progressive neurological challenges.
- Communication training and enhancement for individuals who don’t have speech/language/swallowing challenges but would like to learn how to communicate more effectively in professional or public settings.
*The information on this page is a modified summary based on descriptions of the profession from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). If you or someone you know would benefit from support in any of these areas, or if you are interested in learning more details, please contact me here.