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Below are several frequently asked speech-language pathology questions addressing the who, what, where and why. Do you have a question(s) that is not addressed below? Drop us line and we'll get back to you within 24 hours, or give us call at (704) 360-0204.
What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency.
Who does a Speech-Language Pathologist work with?
Speech-language pathologists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly; those with speech rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering; people with voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh voice; those with problems understanding and producing language; those who wish to improve their communication skills by modifying an accent; and those with cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving disorders. They also work with people who have swallowing difficulties.
Why might someone have problems with speech, language, or swallowing?
Speech, language, and swallowing difficulties can result from a variety of causes including stroke, brain injury or deterioration, developmental delays or disorders, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, voice pathology, mental retardation, hearing loss, or emotional problems. Problems can be congenital, developmental, or acquired. Speech-language pathologists use special instruments and qualitative and quantitative assessment methods, including standardized tests, to analyze and diagnose the nature and extent of impairments.
How do Speech-Language Pathologists assess and provide therapy?
Speech-language pathologists develop an individualized plan of care, tailored to each patient's needs. For individuals with little or no speech capability, speech-language pathologists may select augmentative or alternative communication methods, including automated devices and sign language, and teach their use. They teach patients how to make sounds, improve their voices, or increase their oral or written language skills to communicate more effectively. They also teach individuals how to strengthen muscles or use compensatory strategies to swallow without choking or inhaling food or liquid. Speech-language pathologists help patients develop, or recover, reliable communication and swallowing skills so patients can fulfill their educational, vocational, and social roles.
Speech-language pathologists keep records on the initial evaluation, progress, and discharge of clients. This helps pinpoint problems, tracks client progress, and justifies the cost of treatment when applying for reimbursement. They counsel individuals and their families concerning communication disorders and how to cope with the stress and misunderstanding that often accompany them. They also work with family members to recognize and change behavior patterns that impede communication and treatment and show them communication-enhancing techniques to use at home.
Where does a Speech-Language Pathologist work?
Speech-language pathologists usually work at a desk or table in clean comfortable surroundings. They may work at a rehabilitation center or a medical center. In medical settings, they may work at the patient's bedside and assist in positioning the patient. In schools, they may work with students in an office or classroom. Some work in the client's home. Although the work is not physically demanding, it requires attention to detail and intense concentration.
What educational background does a Speech-Language Pathologist have?
Most speech-language pathologist jobs require a master's degree. The Council on Academic Accreditation is an entity of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; it accredits postsecondary academic programs in speech-language pathology. While graduation from an accredited program is not always required, it is required by some States for licensure and is mandatory for professional credentialing from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Speech-language pathology courses cover anatomy, physiology, and the development of the areas of the body involved in speech, language, and swallowing; the nature of disorders; principles of acoustics; and psychological aspects of communication. Graduate students may also learn to evaluate and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders as part of curriculum in supervised clinical practicum.
Typical licensing requirements are a master’s degree from an accredited college or university; a passing score on the national examination on speech-language pathology, offered through the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service; 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience; and 9 months of postgraduate professional clinical experience. Most States have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal.
What is a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant?
Speech-language pathology assistants in the State of North Carolina have an Associate’s Degree in SLP assisting, are accredited by the NC Board of Examiners, and directed and supervised by an ASHA-certified Speech Language Pathologist. SLP-Assistants assist the SLP with speech-language and hearing screenings and assessments (without interpretation), follow documented treatment or intervention plans or protocols developed by the supervising SLP, assist with clerical duties, preparing materials and scheduled activities as directed by the SLP. SLPAs can support clinical services provided by speech-language pathologists.
ASHA guidelines were developed to ensure that speech-language pathology services provided to the public are of the highest quality and that speech-language pathologists continue to be responsible for maintaining this quality of service. According to ASHA guidelines and state licensure laws, no one can employ a speech-language pathology assistant without a speech-language pathologist as supervisor. ASHA guidelines and most state laws limit the number of speech-language pathology assistants a speech-language pathologist may supervise and define boundaries for how assistants are used.
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