What does a speech pathologist actually do? This is a question I am regularly asked by members of the community.
Common perceptions of our work include correcting articulation difficulties in children (e.g. lisps) and working with people who stutter. Speech pathologists do work to support these client groups – and so much more! Speech pathologists complete a university degree to support children and adults with two fundamental life skills; communicating and eating. Speech pathologists possess the drive and passion to support people with these skills in order to engage across all aspects of daily living.
Who do speech pathologists work with?
Speech pathologists assess, diagnose and treat communication and swallowing difficulties in children and adults. Communication difficulties refer to challenges with speaking, understanding and/or using language, listening, social skills, stuttering, reading, writing and using voice. Speech pathologists also help people who have difficulties eating and drinking safely.
Where do speech pathologists work?
Speech pathologists work in many different settings including schools, hospitals, aged care homes, mental health services, rehabilitation centres, community health centres and private practice. Speech pathologists often work collaboratively with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, audiologists, psychologists, doctors and teachers.
How can a speech pathologist help?
Speech pathologists can support people in the following areas:
- Speech delays and disorders – articulation and producing speech sounds
- Expressive language – using language to share thoughts, feelings and ideas
- Receptive language – understanding language, word meanings and instructions
- Augmentative and alternative communication for people with difficulties speaking and writing e.g. using pictures, communication boards or assistive devices to support understanding and expression of language
- Fluency – supporting people who stutter to speak more fluently and with confidence
- Feeding and swallowing difficulties – supporting infants, children and adults who have difficulties eating, drinking and swallowing safely
- Pre literacy and literacy skills – learning to read, write and spell
- Voice – disorders of the voice including pitch, quality, volume
- Social communication difficulties – communicating for social purposes and following the rules for conversation
- Cognitive-communication disorders – organising thoughts, planning, reasoning, paying attention, remembering and problem solving
- Aural rehabilitation for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Accent modification
Therapy Focus’ qualified speech pathologists provide government funded and fee-for-service speech pathology to children and adults. Find out more.
Where can I find out more information about the work speech pathologists do?
Speech Pathology Australia is the professional body who represent speech pathologists across Australia. To find out more about the work speech pathologists do in the community, view this video.
For more information about Speech Pathology Week 2016 visit their website.