speech pathologists

Top 7 Things that a Speech Pathologist Does

What is a Speech Pathologist?

A speech pathologist is a trained health professional. They assess and treat people with communication difficulties. This includes speaking, understanding language, reading, writing, social communication, stuttering, and voice. Some people have underlying causes for their communication difficulties. Causes include developmental delays, stroke, autism, and hearing difficulties to name a few.

So what does a speech pathologist help with exactly?

Here are the top 7 things a speech pathologist does!

  1. A speech pathologist treats people who have trouble with speech sounds. They may struggle with coordinating their speech muscles to make particular speech sounds.
  2. A speech pathologist can help if a person has a stutter. Stuttering impacts the flow and smoothness of speech.
  3. A speech pathologist can help if people have language difficulties. Some find it challenging to understand what they hear or see. They might also struggle to find and organise words in a meaningful way to get their message across. 
  4. A speech pathologist can help if people have reduced quality of voice. This may be from damage to the vocal folds, structural changes to the larynx, or neurological conditions. 
  5. A speech pathologist can help if people have social communication difficulties. They may find it hard to hold conversations and interact with others around them. For little ones, we support their play skills. Do they know how to join into a game? Or leave a game well? We also focus on neurodiverse affirming practices. This includes self-advocacy (standing up for yourself), perspective taking, and social problem-solving.
  6. A speech pathologist treats children who are having trouble swallowing food or liquid. Speech pathologists help identify which part of the swallowing process is hard. Is it the chewing? Do they have good oral motor control? Or maybe it’s the coordination between the child’s mouth and throat. Is their tongue creating a good ball of food (called a bolus) to travel down the throat? Perhaps for little ones, they are fussy eaters. How can we set them up for success with their eating?
  7. A speech pathologist also supports adults with swallowing difficulties. The cause of swallowing problems vary and treatment depends on the cause. A speech pathologist helps identify the cause of the problem. We collaborate with the adult and their team to create a tailored treatment program to improve their swallow. 

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