Speech Therapy

What Is A Speech Pathologist?

One who treats a child’s speech and language problems, is called as a speech pathologist. They are also called speech therapist or speech teacher. A Speech Therapists determines the cause and severity of the impairment. Then they work on designing the treatment plan, counselling the family on how to cope with the disability and create environment for the success of the treatment.

Work Of A Speech Pathologist:

  • Providing prevention, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, management, counseling for speech disorders (articulation, fluency, phonation, resonance, and voice); language disabilities (morphology, phonology, pragmatic, syntax, semantics, comprehension and expression, language processing, literacy); swallowing (esophageal function and disability); Cognition (attention, execution, memory and problem solving skills); sensory awareness (hearing, viewing, touching).
  • Establishing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques and using speech generating devices.
  • Providing aid to hearing difficulties (auditory training, speech reading, speech and language intervention).
  • Using instrumentation (Computer technology, EMG, nasendoscopy, stroboscopy and videofluoroscopy) to observe progress and signs, collect data and measure parameters of communication.
  • Selecting and effective use of adaptive devices for communication and other problems affecting communication.
  • Educating and counseling individuals, educators, families and co-workers. Also involving other persons in the community to teach acceptance and adaptation.
  • Community awareness, education, and training programs must be performed to promote the effective methods and health conditions. This also helps in removing the social barriers for the ones who are affected by some kind of disability.
  • Building relationship with other professionals like audiologists, educators, health professionals, legal advisers, psychologists etc.
  • Addressing behaviors and environments relationship and their corresponding arrangement.
  • Enhancing communication performance.
  • Recognizing the need of appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Professional Roles:

  • Define, identify and diagnose disorders affecting communication.
  • Serving the disability using a variety of service delivery models.
  • Conduct research on various communication sciences and disorders.
  • Educate and mentor future speech-language pathologists.
  • Manage cases and serve as delivery coordinators.
  • Manage clinical and academic programs.
  • Provide in-service training to families, caregivers and others involved.
  • Participate in activities to measure the result to determine how effective the treatment plan was.
  • Supervise assistants and other support personnel.
  • Teach healthy lifestyle practices.

The following conditions demand for Speech Pathologist Reference:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Autism spectrum disorders and Asperger syndrome
  • Cranial nerve damage
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Craniofacial anomalies
  • Developmental delay
  • Feeding and swallowing concerns
  • Genetic disorders effecting speech, language or cognitive development
  • Injuries due to complications at birth causing difficulty in communication
  • Learning disability (speaking and listening)
  • Progressive neurological conditions (Parkinson etc.)
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • and Augmentative Alternative Communication needs

Common Patients/clients Of A Speech Therapist:

  • Babies with difficulty in feeding and swallowing
  • Unusual delay in speech
  • Children with mild, moderate or severe difficulties in learning, producing sound, hearing, social interaction, fluency, swallowing)
  • Children with physical disabilities
  • Specific language impairment in patients
  • Hearing impairment in children
  • Presence of cleft palate
  • Stammering
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Voice disorders
  • Transgender voice therapy
  • Adults and Children with Cerebral Palsy

Place Of Work:

The Speech pathologists serve in community health centres, hospital wards, outpatient departments, mainstream and special schools, colleges, day centers and in clients’ homes. They may also be required in courtrooms, prisons and in institutions serving in offenders’ institutions. They work in close association with Occupational therapist, parents and family, Caregivers Audiologists, Nurses, Teachers, Doctors and Dietitians.

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