It is a common misconception that Speech and Language Pathologists correct only those who stammer or lisp. This is not true rather it is a partial truth. Speech-Language pathology is a specialist field in which the professional specializes in communication and voice disorders. Beyond that, a speech and language pathologist also deals with cognition issues, voice issues, swallowing disorders, etc.
The Scope of Work of a Speech and Language Pathologist
- Screening: A speech and language pathologist screens a patient who has trouble speaking or other related disorders identify the necessity of the intervention of a Speech and Language Pathologist. Since, not all Children, who have trouble speaking requires a Speech and Language Pathologist.
- Assess and Diagnose: It is the duty of a Speech and Language Pathologist to identify the root cause in a patient facing difficulty in speech. There can be a variety of reasons for this, which include anatomical, motor sensory deficits, feeding issues, etc. which can contribute to a particular disorder. Hence, it is very important to identify the exact reason that lead to the trouble.
- Therapy: A speech and language pathologist help the Child with inability to produce speech sounds, pronounce words correctly or fluently, resonance issues, swallowing disorders, cognitive communication disorders, etc.
- Rehabilitation: Assist in the rehabilitation of the people who are hard of hearing or deaf and similar auditory problems.
- Therapeutic Support: A Speech and Language Pathologist provide therapeutic support in cases of Speech delays and speech disorders. It includes motor and sensory disorders, disorders related to language and fluency, all types of feeding disorders, communication disorders, swallowing disorders, etc.
With adequate experience, a Speech and Language Pathologist has the opportunity to work independently.
The other places requiring a Speech and Language Pathologist are:
- Schools and other Educational Institutions
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Research Centers
- Private Practice Centers
Educational Qualification of a Speech and Language Pathologist
There is no specific stream mandatory at the graduation level in order to learn Speech and Language Pathology. At the same time, a degree in communication or a diploma in speech and hearing sciences will help one equip with a fair idea about this profession. A master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology gives a thorough understanding about the advanced concepts of this profession. Earning some credentials from reputed Associations for Speech and Language professionals would be an added advantage. In order to do private practice, license from the authoritative bodies is important. There are many education programs for working Speech and Language Professionals.
A normal job description of a Speech and Language Pathologist include the following:
- Evaluating the language difficulty level in the Child
- Assessing the intensity of communication problems in the Child
- Educate Child on voice improvement
- Help Child with poor or no speech ability to develop alternate communication methods
- Identify possible and accurate treatment plans for the Child
- Enhance reading and writing ability in the Child
- Assist Child with swallowing difficulty to develop muscle strength
- Provide counseling sessions, if required
- Support Child to maintain a positive mindset
Important Qualities expected from a Speech and Language Specialist
- Compassion: A speech and language specialist should always be ready to extend an emotional support to the Child, as many Children approaching a specialist would be at a deep level of disappointment because of their inability.
- Discipline: Success of Speech and Language therapy lies in persistence. Hence, the discipline of a therapist plays a very important role in the success of treatment.
- Motivational Skills: Unlike other disabilities, speech and language disability directly affects the confidence of a patient. Hence, the speech and language pathologist need to have specialized skills in boosting the morale of the patient, whenever they are frustrated or disappointed.
Hence, one willing to pursue career in the same, must understand the demand and responsibility of the job.