What is a Speech/Language Pathologist?

speech/language pathologist

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about what a therapy dog is from this post here. Then you might have checked out what Animal Assisted Therapy was from this post here. Now let’s tackle what is a speech/language pathologist.

What is a Speech/Language Pathologist?

A speech/language pathologist (SLP or speech therapist) is trained professional.  They received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.  Speech therapists received training in all areas of communication from development to disorders.  They are also training in feeding and swallowing.  They are experts in diagnosing and treating these disorders.  Continued education is mandatory to keep up to date with currently practices.

An SLP must be credentialed by the American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA).  That’s what the CCC-SLP means after their name.  Therapists are required to have a license in their state.  Therapist who work in the schools may also have a teaching certificate.  These professionals work with children and adult population.  Jobs for speech therapists occur in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, nursing homes, Early Intervention, and private practice.  Some provide services in the corporate world or through a tele-practice.  There are also opportunities to work with other disciplines such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or audiologist.

Common Speech/Language Pathology Terms Explained

Articulation: the sounds that you make

Receptive Language:  the understanding of the words you hear and basic concepts

Expressive Language: the words you use to talk and communication

Social Skills: the verbal and non-verbal communication used during social activities

Dysphagia: difficulty swallowing foods and liquids

Developmental Milestones: necessary skills that a young child can do in the areas of thinking, talking, and movement to show how well he is developing.

Stuttering: when speech does not flow easily with repetitions or stops

Apraxia: a motor speech disorder.  The brain has trouble telling the mouth how to make the sounds correctly.

Dysarthria: a speech disorder characterized by muscle weakness

Autism: a spectrum disorder of communication, social, verbal, and motor skills


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