Speech Language Pathologists, also known as Speech Pathologists or Speech Therapists help individuals with a wide range of disorders involving language, speech and swallowing. These professionals may work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals and specialty clinics. Normally a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology is the minimum educational requirement and these programs normally require supervised clinical experience as well. Both the degree and the clinical experience are required for licensing in most states.
The Speech Language Pathologist will diagnose and treat children or adults who suffer from stuttering, and vocal and cognitive communication impairments and disabilities. They can also help those whose speech is affected by emotional issues, physical impairments such as a cleft palate and various learning disabilities. In order to accomplish these tasks the speech pathologist will conduct specialized testing and provide therapy designed for the individual’s needs. Collaborating with physicians, psychologists and teachers and carefully monitoring the patients progress is part of the job as well. The speech pathologist keeps long-term records on their patients in order to assist them with any problems or difficulties that may arise throughout their lives.
Besides the normal voice and speech therapy the speech pathologists may also assist patients who have been in accidents or traumatic incidents to learn or relearn property swallowing techniques. Paraplegics, stroke victims and the recently deaf will sometimes retain the services of a speech pathologist to help make their speech patterns more normal. The speech language pathologist may also provide support and therapy to the patient’s family members to help with social integration and recovery.
The Speech Language Pathologist is a professional who is concerned with evaluation, treatment and research in human communication and its disorders.